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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - September 21, 2011

From: Chappell Hill, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Need suggestions for plants for a privacy screen for a pecan orchard in Chappell Hill, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants, My family has just begun converting our land in Chappell Hill, TX (Washington County) into a pecan orchard. We had to clear a lot of the overgrowth around the edge of the property, and the guys who did the job took it a little too far. Our land is now pretty visible from both 290 and the surrounding area. I was wondering what kind of plants make a good privacy/noise blocking screen in Texas. It has been so dry lately and I don't know what will like that much sun. The property covers a total of 16 acres, so we need something relatively tall and lots of it! Thank you so much!

ANSWER:


For starters, let me introduce you to our Native Plant Database which will help you select plants for your situation. The Database  contains 7,161 plants that are searchable by scientific name or common name. There are several ways to use the Database, but we are going to use the Recommended Species List.  To do this, go to the Native Plant Data Base and scroll down to the Recommended Species List box. Clicking on the map will enlarge it so that you can click on East Texas. This will bring up a list of 133 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in Texas. That is probably too many, so you can go to the “Narrow Your Search” box on the right  of the screen and make the following selections: select Texas under State, Tree under Habit, and Perennial under Lifespan. Check Sun under Light Requirement, Dry under Soil Moisture. Click the Narrow Your Search button and your list shrinks to ten species. Notice that there is now a Leaf Retention category in the Narrow Your Search box. Check Evergreen and then click the Narrow your search button, and your list shrinks to four species.

 Clicking the Scientific Name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page that gives the characteristics of the plant, its growth requirements, and in most cases, photos.  As you go through the list, pay attention to the height of the plants and the soil conditions. You can get different lists by selecting Shrub under habit, and  changing the Light Requirement and Soil moisture, and Leaf Retention  selections.

Another approach is to think of your screen as a type of windbreak.  I’m including links to three websites that have information on the rationale for windbreaks, how to design and plant one, and the selection of plants.

Department of Natural Resources, Ohio  has good section on plant selection.

Iowa State University Cooperative Extension

     pm 1716

     pm 1717

You might also want to contact the Washington County Office of Texas AgriLife Extension for some help closer to home.

What ever plant you choose, wait until it is much cooler to put it into the ground.

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Evergreen tree for privacy screen in Collin County, Texas
May 26, 2010 - I am looking for a shrub or tree that will serve as a privacy screen. I would like it to grow very tall and be thick to help provide some privacy. I live in Collin County, and the area where the tre...
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Native Texas shrub for privacy screen in hot area
August 31, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a lot facing dead west which I'm sure you can understand is brutally hot in the summer. I'm putting in a pool in my backyard and would like to plant a native Texas...
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Tall trees for privacy screen in St. Augustine FL
March 24, 2013 - Please let me know what kind of evergreen tall trees I can plant for privacy in my back yard in the st. Augustine, Florida area. Thanks for your assistance.
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Fast Growing Shrub for Oceanside New York Site
April 17, 2015 - Can you recommend a tall, fast-growing shrub for a sandy location (near an ocean beach in New York) in full sun? Iím looking for a privacy shield.
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Plants for delineating property line
July 18, 2010 - I have a neighbor who does not mow his grass or take care of a strip that runs between my property and his. I would like to plant some inexpensive, low maintenance, shrubs, that would do well in full...
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