En Español

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?

Share

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - March 09, 2013

From: Alton, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Grasses or Grass-like, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Trees and other plants for privacy along lake shoreline
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We are purchasing a new home that has a 2 acre lake. We would like to add some plants/trees for privacy around the shore line. Can you suggest something that would fill in nicely and is strong enough to withstand erosion at the waters edge. Our new home is located in central Illinois.

ANSWER:

The easiest way to find candidate native plants for your lakeside is by using the Illinois Recommended list that contains commercially available plants for landscaping in your area.  You can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to pick various kinds of plants under GENERAL APPEARANCE (e.g, Shrub, Tree, Grass/Grass-like), SOIL MOISTURE and any of the other criteria you wish.  You should read the information under GROWING CONDITIONS on the individual species page to be sure that they match your site.  Not all the plants on the Illinois Recommended list are known to grow in Madison County, but you can check their occurrence there by scrolling down to the bottom of the species page to the ADDITIONAL RESOURCES area and clicking on the link under USDA.   This will take you to the USDA Plants Database page for the species.  If you click on Illinois on the Distribution Map there, you will get a map of Illinois showing the plant's occurrence by county.  

Here are a few choices from the Illinois Recommended list for shrubs, trees and grasses that should work well on the edge of your lake.

SHRUBS/SMALL TREES

Amorpha fruticosa (Indigo bush)

Cephalanthus occidentalis (Common buttonbush)

Cornus racemosa (Gray dogwood)

Hibiscus laevis (Halberdleaf rosemallow)

Hydrangea arborescens (Wild hydrangea)

Lindera benzoin (Northern spicebush)

Rubus occidentalis (Black raspberry)

Salix discolor (Pussy willow)

 Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry)


TREES

 Acer saccharinum (Silver maple)

Betula nigra (River birch)

Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud)

Fraxinus pennsylvanica (Green ash)

Prunus americana (American plum)

Tilia americana (American basswood)

 

GRASS/GRASS-LIKE

Carex stipata (Owlfruit sedge)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wild rye)

Pascopyrum smithii (Western wheatgrass)

Typha latifolia (Broadleaf cattail)

 

Below are photos from our Image Gallery of some of the choices above.

 

From the Image Gallery


Indigo bush
Amorpha fruticosa

Common buttonbush
Cephalanthus occidentalis

Halberdleaf rosemallow
Hibiscus laevis

Black raspberry
Rubus occidentalis

Pussy willow
Salix discolor

Silver maple
Acer saccharinum

Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

Green ash
Fraxinus pennsylvanica

Awlfruit sedge
Carex stipata

Canada wild rye
Elymus canadensis

Western wheatgrass
Pascopyrum smithii

Broadleaf cattail
Typha latifolia

More Privacy Screening Questions

Plants for privacy hedge in North Las Vegas
October 29, 2007 - My lot is in North Las Vegas. Looking to plant something that will be a privacy hedge. Full sun with horrible soil. Local nursery suggested the following: Green Cloud and Gray Cloud Texas Sage, Feat...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing evergreens for privacy in Center, TX
March 30, 2010 - I live in East Texas and am looking for a fast growing evergreen for a privacy screen around my backyard. The area gets partial sun and the soil has a lot of clay in it.
view the full question and answer

Native evergreen vine for St. Paul MN
June 17, 2010 - I am looking for a native vine that will stay green, or at least keep its leaves, throughout the winter. The vine will be grown on a trellis between our house and our neighbor's, and we want to keep...
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

Need a fast growing shrub to quickly create a 6' privacy screen in Magnolia, TX.
February 28, 2011 - Can you please recommend a fast-growing shrub to quickly create a 6' plus-tall privacy screen in an area with mottled shade along a north/south oriented wrought-iron fence? This is under a canopy of...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center