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
1 rating

Tuesday - April 09, 2013

From: Burleson, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Privacy Screening
Title: Privacy hedge for Burleson, TX.
Answered by: Joe Marcus


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 to plant a privet hedge and am thinking of using wax leaf ligustrum. I have 7 1/2 acres and cannot afford to cover the entire fence line. I have some mature ones on another property. Can I propagate and if so what type of propagation is best? It will be next to a fence where we keep cows. If they are able to reach some of the branches, will the wax leaf make them sick? Do you have a suggestion for something that would work better and grow quicker?


Unfortunately, there are no plant screens of any kind that will silence screaming children and barking dogs. 

For a visual screen, we can give you a couple recommendations.  Juniperus virginiana, Juniperus ashei or Juniperus pinchotii might work for you as evergreen screens.  Of these species, Juniperus virginiana is probably the most attractive and the most likely to be available in nurseries.  Cattle will not eat juniper leaves.

Because the mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated solely to the study and promotion of native species, we cannot recommend any Ligustrum species or any other non-native plants.  Privets (Ligustrum spp.) are particularly problematic invasive species in Texas and should not be planted by anyone.  In many areas, privets have overwhelmed entire ecosystems.  We strongly encourage you not to plant privets on your land.


More Privacy Screening Questions

Replacement for waxleaf privet
December 15, 2014 - i just removed some waxleaf privet due to reading about the invasive and allergy problem to it. Is indian hawthorn blueberry muffin any better? what shrub do you recommend? I want it to grow about 6-1...
view the full question and answer

Sources for Ilex shrubs from Boca Raton FL
April 29, 2013 - Where can I find Ilex plants in the Boca Raton, FL area? I would like to use them for hedges.
view the full question and answer

Need plants for privacy screening in a campground in Wade, NC.
December 14, 2010 - Landscaping a campground tent area, need evergreen to grow to ground, narrow in width but will reach height for privacy. There is a wooded tree line along wall that produces shade during summer. Any...
view the full question and answer

Replacing Drought-Stricken Cedars
January 16, 2012 - Hello, I live in Williamson County on a couple acres. We have several dead cedars as a result of drought; we're reluctant to cut them down because many of them provide a friendly barrier between us...
view the full question and answer

Hedgerow to block sounds and scenes of traffic
May 01, 2011 - What would make the best year round hedgerow to block the sight and sounds of traffic 60 feet from my house?
view the full question and answer

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