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?


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

Sunday - March 24, 2013

From: Atlanta, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Tall trees for privacy screen in St. Augustine FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Please let me know what kind of evergreen tall trees I can plant for privacy in my back yard in the st. Augustine, Florida area. Thanks for your assistance.


To answer your question, we will go to our Native Plant Database and, on the Combination Search near the middle of that page, we will search on Florida for the state and "tree" for Habit. Since you told us only that you wanted tall evergreen trees we will select on "evergreen" under Duration and 36 to 72 ft. for ultimate height. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center only recommends plants native not only to North America (excluding Mexico) but to the area in which those plants grow naturally. All the trees on our list for you are native in or near St. Johns County on the northeast Florida coast. Bear in mind that it will be many years before these trees attain their mature height, and you should be aware of the extent of their root systems before you plant them near foundations, sidewalks and other hardscape.

Chamaecyparis thyoides (Atlantic white cedar)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar)

Persea borbonia (Redbay)

Quercus virginiana (Coastal live oak)

Sabal palmetto (Cabbage palmetto)


From the Image Gallery

Atlantic white cedar
Chamaecyparis thyoides

American holly
Ilex opaca

Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Persea borbonia

Coastal live oak
Quercus virginiana

Cabbage palmetto
Sabal palmetto

More Privacy Screening Questions

Plant mistakes from Cedar Park, TX
April 09, 2014 - At our "Wilts End" in Cedar Park, TX. and are looking for a tall shrub/tree that will hide a 6-ft tall concrete wall and muffle the noise from a busy street. The wall forms a very wide-angled V shap...
view the full question and answer

Eight Foot Screen for Austin, TX
September 01, 2011 - I'm looking for a fast-growing shrub to "extend" the height of my fence and provide privacy in my yard in Austin. My lot is pretty much full sun and very dry, mostly clay soil. 8' is my goal. Than...
view the full question and answer

Noise reduction hedge from Austin
April 17, 2013 - Noise reduction hedge row in Austin. We back up to a very busy street and need a fast growing noise barrier. In a similar post for the Houston area, you recommended Gordonia lasianthus -loblolly bay. ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for privacy screen in Edgewood TX
September 10, 2009 - Can you recommend a large fast growing tree, shrub, etc. that can give me some privacy from my neighbor across the street that likes to use his binoculars? I live in East Texas on about 10 acres.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen replacement for bamboo in Redding CA
July 27, 2009 - We have just removed bamboo from our backyard and need to replace it with a plant that will give us the same type of privacy. What plant would you suggest to plant along a fence line that will surviv...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center