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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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Wednesday - June 26, 2013

From: Winston-Salem, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Privacy Screening of House Next Door in NC
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Hello, I live in the house my parents bought in 1971 in Winston-Salem, NC. The house beside me is an eyesore and for sale at a very low price. I am afraid the condition of the house and yard next door will continue to deteriorate or I may end up with undesirable neighbors. I need to put up a privacy screen between my driveway and the yard next door ASAP (hopefully before the house next door sells). What kind of tree or bush grows best for my area, hopefully something fast growing that will provide a good privacy screen? The area is in partial sun.

ANSWER:

The first place to go to find a list of potential plants for your privacy screen 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: State – North Carolina, Habit – tree, shrub, Duration – perennial, Leaf Retention – semi-evergreen and evergreen, Light Requirement – part shade, Soil Moisture – moist, Size – 12-36 ft. You can narrow down this search further by indicating blooming time and bloom color too if you like.
These search criteria will give you several trees and shrubs to consider then you will have to look at the ultimate width to see if they will fit in your space, how dense of a plant you need, and how tall they have to be to screen your view. Follow each plant link to our webpage for that plant to learn its growing conditions, bloom time, etc. At the bottom of each plant webpage, under Additional Resources, there is a link to the USDA webpage for that plant. Take a look there for more specific details about suitability before you put them on your final planting list.

Some trees and shrubs to consider:

Ilex coriacea (large gallberry)

Ilex glabra (inkberry)

Ilex myrtifolia (myrtle dahoon)

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)

Juniperus virginiana var. silicicola (Southern red-cedar)

Leucothoe fontanesiana (drooping leucothoe)

Lyonia lucida (fetterbush lyonia)

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)

Osmanthus americanus (devilwood)

Rhododendron maximum (great laurel)

Prunus caroliniana (cherry laurel)

Taxus canadensis (Canada yew) 

 

From the Image Gallery


Inkberry
Ilex glabra

Myrtle dahoon
Ilex myrtifolia

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Highland doghobble
Leucothoe fontanesiana

Fetterbush lyonia
Lyonia lucida

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

American olive
Osmanthus americanus

American olive
Osmanthus americanus

Great laurel
Rhododendron maximum

Carolina cherry-laurel
Prunus caroliniana

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March 31, 2015 - We need to screen out neighbor's house. What can we plant (fast growing tree or hedge) in partial shade? Area is dry in summer, but does get soggy during heavy rain. We live east of Austin in Cedar C...
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June 14, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am searching for ideal plants to provide a privacy screen and windbreak for the north side of my yard. I live in Pflugerville..the soil seems mostly caliche but hits limest...
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Privacy screen around pool in Vermont
February 08, 2009 - I am looking for a plant or tree that doesn't lose its leaves or needles that can offer privacy around my pool but not grow tall enough to block out the sun in the early and late hours. Would an ever...
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