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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

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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Monday - April 15, 2013

From: Charlotte, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Lists, Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Privacy Screen Tree for Patio in NC
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

What is a good tree to plant in front of a brick wall/fence to provide privacy and not compromise the structural integrity of the wall? The brick fence is my neighbors but I need privacy as they can see onto my patio.

ANSWER:

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: North Carolina, Habit – Tree, Duration – Perennial, and Leaf Retention – Evergreen. This will give you 37 plants to consider. Next you can narrow down your search further by indicating soil moisture (dry, moist, wet), light requirement (sun, part shade or shade), and size (from your patio you may have to do some simple triangle trigonometry to figure out how high the tree should grow to block your neighbors view.

Some of the native evergreen trees that you might consider from the 12-36 foot high category:

Ilex opaca (American holly). Male and female trees needed if fruiting desired.

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon). Male and female trees needed if fruiting desired.

Osmanthus americanus (devilwood). Likes part shade sites.

Pinus virginiana (Virginia pine). This tree needs up to 30 feet in width at maturity.

Prunus angustifolia (chickasaw plum). More dense in full sun sites.

Prunus caroliniana (cherry laurel). Common screening plant for the southeast.

Vaccinium arboretum (farkleberry). Requires part shade and well-drained soil.

 

From the Image Gallery


American holly
Ilex opaca

American holly
Ilex opaca

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

American olive
Osmanthus americanus

American olive
Osmanthus americanus

Virginia pine
Pinus virginiana

Chickasaw plum
Prunus angustifolia

Carolina cherry-laurel
Prunus caroliniana

Farkleberry
Vaccinium arboreum

Farkleberry
Vaccinium arboreum

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