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
8 ratings

Wednesday - August 15, 2012

From: Novato, CA
Region: California
Topic: Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Evergreen shrub for hedge in pasture in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I am looking at putting in a hedge along a pasture between my neighbor and me. I was considering a podacarpus plant about every 4' for 100'. is this a fast growing, full thickness, tall evergreen bush? is it OK for horses and cows and any other animal life?


Podocarpus marcrophylla (Japanese yew) is native to Japan and China and we would not recommend planting it since our mission is to "increase the sustainable use and conservation of native (North American) wildflowers, plants and landscapes."  I can, however, suggest several California native evergreens for your hedge.  The following are all evergreen and native to Northern California:

Arctostaphylos manzanita (Whiteleaf manzanita).  'Dr. Hurd" is a variety that grows 6 to 12 feet high and makes a good hedge.   Here are photos and more information from Las Pilitas Nursery in southern California.  This shrub is available at Bay Natives, one of our associates, in San Francisco.

Garrya elliptica (Wavyleaf silktassel) grows to 10 ft.  Here are photos and more information from San Francisco Botanical Garden and from Yerba Buena Nursery near Woodside.

Morella californica (California wax myrtle) [synonym = Myrica californica] grows 10 to 25 ft.  Here are photos and more information from Calflora.org, CalPhotos and Great Plant Picks.

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus (Blue blossom) grows to 18 ft.   Here are more photos and information from Bay Natives and from Tree of Life Nursery in San Juan Capistrano showing the variety 'Snow Flurry' that grows to 10 ft.

These are all available at Bay Natives, one of our associates, in San Francisco.  You can find a list of other nurseries in your area that specialize in native plants in our National Suppliers Directory.

The above listed plants do not appear on any of the following toxic plant lists:

California Poison Control System

Cornell University's Plants Poisonous to Livestock

University of Pennsylvania's Poisonous Plants

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

ASCPC:  Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List - Horses


From the Image Gallery

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus

More Privacy Screening Questions

Small trees for property edge in Katy TX
April 16, 2012 - By deed restriction, I must have five trees on the side of my small suburban lot just west of Houston, TX. Due to the lot layout, the trunks are only about 8-10 feet from the house, with the trees abo...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for Sedona AZ
August 02, 2013 - I live In Sedona Az. A builder just built a house next to my house and the new house is ugly to look at. What plant or tree would grow fast and reach 18 foot in height fast. It can be about 5 to 6 foo...
view the full question and answer

Hedgerow plants non-toxic to horses
April 07, 2012 - What would be a good, fast growing, hedgerow plant that is NON-POISONOUS TO HORSES? 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

Thorny plants for a security perimeter in Austin TX
October 16, 2013 - Hello, I am trying to establish a security perimeter around my property that incorporates thorny or otherwise deterrent shrubs and vines. Can you recommend some attractive native plants that would su...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center