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

Thursday - April 11, 2013

From: Kenosha, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Replacement evergreens under power line in Wisconsin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have to replace evergreen trees in a privacy screen due to borer damage. The screen is below power lines so the replacements cannot be tall. I would like use bird and pollinator friendly replacements that are evergreens. I am in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The soil is good with no drainage issues. Thank you

ANSWER:

MGE (Madison Gas & Electric) has a brochure, Power Planting—How to Select and Plant Trees Near Power Lines, with guidelines for planting trees near and under power lines.  The brochure gives recommendations for various trees; but you should be aware that many of their recomendations are NOT native plants.  However, under their "Evergreens", they have recommendations for two Wisconsin native trees with information about several smaller cultivars for each.

MGE also has a Tree Choice and Care page where you can search for trees native to Wisconsin that are evergreen.  On the "Advanced Search" page I selected Tree Names and Cultivars, Evergreen, and Native to WI.  For the other choices I left it at "Any" except for Sun where I selected "Full Sun, Partial Shade and Shade" and Plant Type, "Trees and Shrubs".  Here are the other trees, in addtion to Eastern red cedar and arborvitae, that resulted from the search:

You can do a similar search in our Native Plant Database using COMBINATION SEARCH and choosing "Wisconsin" from Select State or Province, "Tree" from Habit (general appearance) and "Evergreen" from Leaf Characteristics.  This will give you several other choices that are either very large, slow-growing trees with few (or no) dwarf varieites available and one—Juniperus communis (Common juniper)—low-growing variety.  There is also one tree that is not a Gymnosperm, Maclura pomifera (Osage orange).  It now grows in southern Wisconsin but probably originated in Arkansas and/or Texas and is not really a good candidate for your screening hedge.

All the trees suggested above are Gymosperms and, as such, are non-flowering plants that are typically wind pollinated.   Birds, however, are attracted to them for their cones for food and for shelter in their branches.  Eastern hemlock also is described as attracting butterflies and moths.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Arborvitae
Thuja occidentalis

Eastern hemlock
Tsuga canadensis

Eastern white pine
Pinus strobus

More Privacy Screening Questions

Need suggestions for privacy hedge in Northern NJ.
May 01, 2012 - Hi, I'm looking for advice on what plant would make an excellent privacy hedge in Northern NJ (Bergen County). Ideally something low maintenance, about 5 feet tall, would act as a fence. Thanks...
view the full question and answer

Puppy-friendly privacy screen in Montana
November 02, 2012 - I need some puppy-friendly short(< 30') privacy from the gigantic windows of my next door neighbor. But- there are power lines above the area that I needed to plant! I had planned on an aspen grove, ...
view the full question and answer

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

Privacy hedge for Burleson, TX.
April 09, 2013 - I moved out to the country away from the hustle and bustle only to find that I have less privacy out there because of open land. I hear children screaming and dogs barking from 1/4 mile away. I want t...
view the full question and answer

Hedgerow plants non-toxic to horses
April 07, 2012 - What would be a good, fast growing, hedgerow plant that is NON-POISONOUS TO HORSES? Thank you.
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