Explore Plants

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
    
 

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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - April 20, 2012

From: Thomasville, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Need a drought resistant, maintenance free tree in Thomasville, GA.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have been through many tree forums and asked several nurseries about a good tree to plant but nobody has provided an adequate answer and I hope you can help. I live in SW Georgia (Zone 8) and need a noise barrier/privacy fence between the house and road. Because there isn't a lot of space between the house and road, it can't have that much spread and it is near the powerline so it can't be too tall either. I need something that doesn't need maintenance and is drought resistant as well. A tree that has 8' spread at most, 15-10 feet tall, provide adequate privacy and noise barrier, drought resistant and doesn't need maintenance. please help, thanks!

ANSWER:


It sounds to Mr. Smarty Plants that you are wanting shrubs to make a privacy hedge/noise barrier rather than a single tree. Let me introduce you to our Native Plant Database that can help with finding plants for this particular situation. This Database  contains 7,161 plants that are searchable by scientific name or common name.

One way of using the Database is to go to the Recommended Species Lists. Click on View Recommended Species Page, and then click on Georgia on the map. This will bring up 261 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in Georgia. This is more information than you need right now, so go to the Narrow Your Search box on the right of the window and make the following selections: select Georgia under State, Shrub under habit, and Perennial under duration. Check Sun under Light Requirement and Moist under Soil Moisture. Click on the Narrow Your Search button and the list is reduced to 18. Clicking on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page that has plant characteristics, growth requirements and photos. These can help you select plants suitable for your location. Another approach is to use the Combination Search Box on the Database page. It works similarly, so make the same selections as before and click on the Submit Combination Search button.

What you need is a shrub that is evergreen (does not lose it’s leaves in the Fall), that can grow 6 -15 feet tall. It will have a similar spread. You didn’t mention the length of barrier that you want, but planting the shrubs in a row about 6 feet apart will allow the shrubs to fill in nicely.

Here are three plants that might fit the bill.


Ilex glabra (Inkberry) - 6 to 12 feet in height and spread 

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) - 12 to 25 feet in height

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle)- 6 to 12 feet in height and spread, fragrant foliage, attracts a number of birds

Here is the part you are not going to like: if you are going to put these plants in your landscape and expect them to function as a privacy/noise barrier, there is going to be some maintenance involved. This link to the University of Rhode Island has a good description of the ins and outs of pruning.

 

From the Image Gallery


Inkberry
Ilex glabra

More Shrubs Questions

Need a shade tree for an enclosed courtyard in Las Cruces, NM
September 24, 2012 - I HAVE A WEST FACING COURTYARD ENCLOSED WITH A 6' STUCCO WALL AND I WANT TO ADD A SHADE TREE. CURRENTLY HAVE SEVERAL MESQUITE TREES, DESERT WILLOW, CHINESE PISTACHE & VITEX TREES IN THE FRONT AREA ...
view the full question and answer

Why is Rhus aromatica more deer resistant from Seattle
December 07, 2009 - I have a large area that I would like to cover with Rhus aromatica. My landscaper says that in his experience, Rhus typhina and glabra in this area are heavily browsed by deer. I noticed in your dat...
view the full question and answer

Further information on soil pH for growing blueberries
December 31, 2008 - Thank you for your reponse to my question / comment. You were exactly right about soil pH. Here is what Clemson University Extension has to say about growing blueberries in North and South Carolina....
view the full question and answer

Plant Suggestions for a Partly Sunny Steep Bank in Illinois
November 09, 2013 - I am looking to plant something on a steep clay bank on our Illinois property. It is on the edge of our dirt road with trees above the bank and is partly sunny. What would work best for that type of a...
view the full question and answer

How to keep persimmons from staining patio
August 10, 2008 - We have approximately 4 female persimmons bearing fruit around our back patio. Birds are carrying the berries to our patio and eating them which leaves a dark stain on our patio. I'm having to go o...
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.