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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Wednesday - February 06, 2013

From: Glen Rose, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Hiding a chicken house from Glen Rose TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

To hide a chicken house, which do you recommend, crape myrtles or chinese photinias?

ANSWER:

First, here is a previous Smarty Plants answer that tells you what we think of photinia. What we think is "don't do it."

Second, another previous Smarty Plants answer that discusses the also non-native Lagerstroemia indica (Crape Myrtle).

Since we explained in both those previous answers why we don't recommend non-native plants, we will go to our Native Plant Database and find some shrubs native to your area in Somervell County, TX. Following that link to our database and using the Combination Search, we will select on "Texas" for the state, "shrub" for Habit or General Appearance and "evergreen" for duration, so you will have coverage year-round.

Our highest recommenation would go to Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon). It is a tough evergreen shrub which will remain fairly dense year-round.

Two more that we would also recommend but might be slightly out of their native range in Sommervell County are Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo) and Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle).

Follow each link to our webpage on that plant, read growing conditions, light requirements, soil and water needs. Woody plants, such as trees and shrubs should be planted in late fall or winter, before the sizzling heat of summer comes along.

 

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