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

Friday - October 19, 2012

From: Kneeland, CA
Region: California
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Evergreen for privacy screen in Northern California
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Hello, My neighbor just logged their property and we need a very quick growing evergreen shrub/tree (for privacy of ugly cabin) that grows to at least 10' -15' tall. We live in northern Cal. about 3 miles from the ocean at 1300' in elevation. Rain 40-60" annually, area for privacy screen is mostly shaded. Redwood forest. Coastal fog frequently in early summer but then Indian summers in late August thru mid October when temps climb into the 80's. Please help, they have put up a privacy screen fence (literally you can see thru it) which does absolutely nothing. Thanks


Here are three possibilities for evergreen shrubs for your privacy screening.   All three are native and are found in Humboldt County:

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus (Blue blossom) is a fast grower to 20 feet and is evergreen with blue blossoms in the spring.   It grows in sun or part shade.  You can read what Yerba Buena Nursery near Woodside and Bay Natives in San Francisco say about it.

Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon) can grow to 20 feet high but usually grows to only about 8 feet.  It is fast-growing and evergreen and will grow in sun and part shade. Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery in Santa Margarita and Escondido and Theodore Payne Foundation Nursery in Sun Valley.

Rhododendron macrophyllum (Pacific rhododendron) will grow in shade or part shade up to 25 feet and has very showy flowers.  Here is more information from the Washington Native Plant Society and Woodbrook Native Plant Nursery in Gig Harbor, WA.


From the Image Gallery

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus

Heteromeles arbutifolia

Pacific rhododendron
Rhododendron macrophyllum

More Privacy Screening Questions

Additional screening under yaupons in Georgetown TX
November 09, 2011 - We live on a corner and have a berm along the south side of our yard which blocks our backyard from the street. It was planted with uprights yaupons. With the drought, deer have eaten the bottom por...
view the full question and answer

Privacy hedge, thick, fast-growing in Georgetown TX
August 31, 2010 - I want to plant a privacy hedge in Austin Texas Edwards escarpment so it's rocky soil. Looking for something thick, fast growing and can be kept to 7'. It's along a wrought iron fence and ranges fr...
view the full question and answer

Hedge of native Purple Sage in Austin
November 20, 2008 - Hi, I would like to plant a dense hedge of Purple Sage that will hopefully grow from 6-8 ' tall and about 4' wide. I purchased the Silverado Sage Leucophyllum frutescens 'Berstar Dwarf' variety....
view the full question and answer

Native evergreen trees or shrubs for privacy screen in South Carolina
April 02, 2008 - RE: Wednesday - April 02, 2008 From: Johnston, SC Region: Southeast Topic: Native Trees Title: Native evergreen trees or shrubs for privacy screen in South Carolina Author: Barbara Medford Qu...
view the full question and answer

Alternate native plants for bamboo as a privacy screen in Austin, TX.
July 26, 2011 - Can you recommend a bamboo that I can plant, acting as a privacy screen, reaching at least 10'-12'? We are looking for a bamboo that does not spread, and can take the afternoon sun. It will be pla...
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