En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Barrier Planting in Boston

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 - January 29, 2013

From: Reading, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Deer Resistant, Privacy Screening
Title: Barrier Planting in Boston
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I live in the Boston area and a school is being built right behind my property. The school kindly left me a 100' barrier that includes some 40' high pines, a couple of tall oaks and some spindly poplars. They have offered to put in a barrier planting within that area. Any suggestions for something native to my area that is resistant to deer and the hemlock wooly adelgid? I would prefer something more natural looking rather than a row of one plant. Thank so much!

ANSWER:

What a great opportunity you have to create a native planting at the back of your property that will also be enjoyed by the neighboring school students.  Think of the space as three layers – the upper tree canopy, the middle shrub or small tree section and the lower section that has groundcovers, perennials and biennials. Your plan can easily include excellent native plants for all three of these layers. You can also have several different plants in the middle and lower layers that have attractive flowering, foliage or fruiting features during different times of the year.

The first place to go to find a list of potential plants is our Native Plant Database. Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.

Under Combination Search, select the following categories: Massachusetts, All habits (or just search for trees, shrubs, etc.), and Duration – Perennial. You can narrow down this search further by indicating blooming time, soil moisture and height specifics.

Follow each plant link to our webpage for that plant to learn its growing conditions, bloom time, etc. At the bottom of each plant webpage, under Additional Resources, there is a link to the USDA webpage for that plant. Take a look there for more specific details about suitability before you put them on your final planting list. Think about including plants that have interest during a variety of seasons and that have more than one attractive feature (flower, fruit, foliage, bark, etc.) so you can get more benefits out of fewer plants.

Once you have a large list of potential plants for your three layers, then it is time to cross reference them with the deer-resistant species. To do this, take a look at our recommended species list of deer-resistant plants. Then narrow your search to those native to Massachusetts and other specifics you would like.

Some of the deer-resistant plants that you might consider include:

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) Perennial to 2 ft.

Eupatorium serotinum (white boneset) Perennial to 3 ft.

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry) Shrub to 4 ft.

Amorpha fruticosa (indigo bush) Shrub to 10 ft.

Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac) Shrub to 12 ft.

Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud) Small tree to 30 ft.

Ptelea trifoliata (common hoptree) Small tree to 30 ft.

Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar) Evergreen tree to 30 ft.

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore) Tree to 100 ft.

Lastly, you said you specifically wanted to avoid plants that were hosts to the hemlock woolly adelgid, a tiny insect closely related to an aphid. This insect severely weakens and kills Tsuga caroliniana (Carolina hemlock) and Tsuga canadensis (Eastern hemlock) over several years. In the Northeast, avoid planting these two hemlocks because of the seriousness of the hemlock woolly adelgid situation.

 

From the Image Gallery


Indigo bush
Amorpha fruticosa

Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

American sycamore
Platanus occidentalis

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Eastern red columbine
Aquilegia canadensis

Lateflowering thoroughwort
Eupatorium serotinum

Wafer ash
Ptelea trifoliata

More Privacy Screening Questions

Hankering for a view-blocking hedge in Hempstead, TX.
July 03, 2013 - Hempstead is 50 miles west of Houston and I am looking for a fast growing native to provide a block of a view for a fairly large area (about half a block). I would prefer something that is also benef...
view the full question and answer

Fast growing, tall evergreens for privacy in Buda, Texas
June 09, 2007 - I need to plant fast growing tall evergreens along a western 6 ft privacy fence. The function is privacy, and sound deadening. Our western privacy fence is along a 2 way noisy highway. Please advise a...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs/trees for screen
August 07, 2008 - I need several trees/tall shrubs for a screen well away from the house. The important height range is in the 4-7' range for effective screening. Soil is caliche rich but can be amended, sun will be...
view the full question and answer

Native shrubs for wildlife and screening in Georgia
December 22, 2008 - I live in Bainbridge, GA. I have 3 acres and want to plant for wildlife. I would like to plant fast growing native shrubs along the 400' of road that will benefit wildlife and shield us from the tr...
view the full question and answer

Evergreens to replace a screening line of pine trees
December 02, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smartyplants, I lost a "screening" line of pines along my back property line to powerline trimmers & a blight. The area is quite damp & the soil full of clay which is now acidic from the...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center