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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.

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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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Friday - November 17, 2006

From: Melrose, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Arborvitae as privacy screen in Maine
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I want to plant privacy bushes (arborvitae shrubs) around my back yard. My husband built a wall to retain the soil behind it. My neighbors' yards abut mine. They have a fence, but not high enough to give me privacy. Anyway, I have 24" between their fence and my wall. Can I successfully plant arborvitae shrubs in this space? Is there a type of arbovitae that will have shallow roots or roots that grow down. I don't want my wall to bulge out. I live in Massachusetts.

ANSWER:

Arborvitae (Thuja sp.) should do just fine in the space you described. They are tough and adaptable and their roots do not cause foundation problems. You can read more about this plant at About Arborvitae.
 

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