En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - April 17, 2013

From: Cedar Park, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Noise reduction hedge from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

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. Would this work in the Austin area with our heat, rock, and lack of rain? If not, what are my options? Thanks so much!I've been frustrated by this for many years and appreciate any help.

ANSWER:

Here is our previous answer to which you are referring. We are trying to think why we even mentioned Gordonia lasianthus (Gordonia), it is not native to Texas at all. In fact, here are comments on its growing conditions:
"Though usually seen in wetlands, Loblolly Bay is tolerant of dry, sandy soil, in which it grows in the wild as a large shrub. It does not tolerate drought. The plant can be finicky and short-lived under cultivation unless its natural habitat is closely matched. Root rot can be a problem when young."

Doesn't sound much like Austin, does it?

Here is another previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on noise reduction, also from Austin, but it focuses mostly on conifers. Yet another previous answer has more suggestions. Not all of these are evergreen and we feel that a plant with leaves on it all year long will do a better job of muffling noise. We have confined our search to shrubs; they usually are faster-growing than trees, the leaves will tend to be at ear-level, and blooms will be visible. Our three evergreen shrubs suggestions are:

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon)

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) - generally grows better slightly east of here, but if watered, will do well here

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)

Your job is to follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant, not only these but those in the links to previous answers, to find out if your space has the appropriate growing conditions, especially the amount of sunlight, soils and so forth. You can make a continuous hedge of the one you like best, but we prefer mixed hedges with different textures, leaf sizes, and bloom colors and times. Nothing will totally shut out noise, but it will distract you from the noise and birds will visit for berries or shelter.

 

 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Shrubs Questions

Plants to keep children out of yard
April 23, 2008 - I WANT TO PLANT SOMETHING ALONG A FENCE LINE TO KEEP CHILDREN OUT OF OUR YARD. NEEDS TO GROW FAST BUT NOT POISONOUS
view the full question and answer

Recovery of an agarita having been cut down from San Antonio, TX
August 16, 2013 - I had an agarita adjoining a cedar and a volunteer hackberry in my yard. The tree trimmers were supposed to cut out the hackberry but unfortunately also cut the agarita back to the ground. How long ...
view the full question and answer

Knife Acacia or Shrubs for Austin
April 07, 2011 - Hello, Do you know if knife acacia is a suitable plant for North Austin? Does it have sharp leaves or thorns? How large and full does it get? We are looking to replace our existing pampas grass...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen fast-growing native shrubs for privacy shield in Baytown, TX
March 07, 2006 - A gas well is going in across the road. We need a fast growing native tall shrub to line our property next to the road. It needs to maintain its leaves in the winter also. We hope to cut down on th...
view the full question and answer

Toxic trees and shrubs in Pennsylvania
September 30, 2008 - I have a long property edge that I have been gradually transforming from a former cattle pasture into a hedgerow of native trees and shrubs. Cattle still graze on the other side. Are there any toxic...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center