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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - May 01, 2012

From: River Vale, NJ
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Need suggestions for privacy hedge in Northern NJ.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


Hi, I'm looking for advice on what plant would make an excellent privacy hedge in Northern NJ (Bergen County). Ideally something low maintenance, about 5 feet tall, would act as a fence. Thanks so much!


One of our most frequently asked questions has to do with privacy screens, so we should have enough information to help you out.

First, let me show you how to use our Native Plant Database  which contains 7,223 species of native plants. Let's use the combination search which will allow you to explore the database to find the plants suitable for your situation. Start by scrolling down to the Combination Search Box and make the following selections: select New Jersey under State, shrub under Habit, and perennial under Duration. Check sun under Light requirement, and 6-12' under height. Click the Submit Combination Search Button, and you will have a list of 30 plant species that fit those criteria. Clicking on the Scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page that has a description of the plant’s characteristics, growth requirements and in most cases images. By varying the selections, you can get different lists of plants.

Next, I’m going to refer you to  some answers from  previous questions.
These may not fit your situation exactly, but they include some plants that might you might consider for your location.  All ofthe questions are from the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Virginia Beach, VA

Seymour, CT

Arlington, VA  


More Shrubs Questions

Esperanza turning brown in McGregor TX
May 05, 2010 - Why are my Esperanza turning brown?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of possumhaw from Austin
May 22, 2014 - I planted a possumhaw holly plant about 3 months ago and am really excited to watch it grow from its current 3-foot height. It is starting to berry right now. My question is about those berries: (Cle...
view the full question and answer

Replacement for boxwoods in Ohio
February 26, 2014 - I want to replace my boxwood plants but I don't know what would be a good replacement. I have a hydrangea plant that is in the middle and I would like something to go on each side of the hydrangea. I...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant similar to Lindheimer's senna (Senna lindheimeriana)
October 27, 2011 - I purchased "Lindheimer's Senna" at our MG plant sale in Williamson Co. two years ago. My three plants are now 6 ft. tall but I don't think they are Lindheimers. I've searched your plant files ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of eleagnus-like shrub
August 21, 2007 - There is a plant on our land I can't identify. It has a tree-like smooth light gray "trunk", with leaves similar to an eleagnus (grayish green and rough on top, lighter underneath). I can't find...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center