En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Tuesday - October 18, 2011

From: Van, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Need suggestions for a privacy screen besides Murray Cypress.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in NE TX, about an hour east of Dallas on I-20. I hear interstate traffic behind my house, and have a busy street on its left side, and a school adjoining in back. I think I would like to have a living sight and sound buffer, and am considering Murray Cypress. I need something fast growing, wind, sun and drought tolerant and disease resistant. Will Murray Cypress work? Do you have a better suggestion?

ANSWER:

This presents and interesting situation. The Murray Cypress is a cultivar of the Leyland Cypress which is a hybrid of two species of Cupressus that are native to North America. Hybrids and cultivars are not considered natives here at the Wildflower Center, and thus are outside of our area focus. However there is an interesting story here, so I’m including an excerpt from a previously answered question.
“The Leyland Cypress is a hybrid, which means it does not appear in our Native Plant Database, of two trees that are native to the North American Pacific Coast, Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey cypress) and Cupressus nootkatensis (Alaska cedar). It hybridized naturally because the two trees were taken to an estate in England and were close enough together to cross pollinate. Ordinarily, in their native habitats in the Pacific northwest, they would have been 400 miles apart and would never have hybridized. Then, later, the resulting hybrid, Leyland Cypress, was exported back to the United States.” Click on this link for more information.

The Leyland Cypress is a sterile hybrid that must be propagated by cuttings. A forester, Bill Murray, was taking cuttings about 50 years ago, and after rooting the cuttings discovered a young tree that had desirable qualities beyond the original Leyland Cypress. This was developed into the Murray Cypress (which is also sterile). Click on this link (scroll down to Murray cypress) for more of the story. Click here for more details about the Murray Cypress.

As for suggestions, Mr. Smarty Plants is thinking that Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar) would be a candidate for this job (images,). It is native, fast-growing, adaptable, drought-tolerant, evergreen, takes pruning (although it usually doesn't need it), makes an excellent hedge and is attractive. Here is more information on Eastern red cedar.

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Spacing for wax myrtles as screen in Texas
December 21, 2008 - I have bought 30 wax myrtles, 15 gallon sized, and would like to plant them along my fence line, as a screen. How far apart is the recommended distance when planting plants of this size? Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant, fast growing trees for screening
June 01, 2009 - Deer resistant, fast growing, native plants (trees) as a visual block.
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for shrubs for for screening along a 70 ft fence in Dallas, TX.
June 29, 2009 - Hi, My new home backyard is right adjacent to an intersection of reasonably busy roads. The other side of one of these roads is commercial area. From your website, I understand that Wax Myrtle is bes...
view the full question and answer

Low water hedge for Sedona, AZ
August 19, 2009 - I'm looking for a shrub to plant along a 90' property line with my neighbor in Sedona, Arizona (high desert). Ideally, the shrub would grow to about 8' and would not require too much water. What wo...
view the full question and answer

Privacy hedge for East Texas
January 07, 2009 - I need suggestions for a native shrub/bush as a privacy hedge for East Texas conditions. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center