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?

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

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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - July 28, 2013

From: Dobbins, CA
Region: California
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Privacy Screening, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Shrub to scrren house from dust from gravel road
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

HI: We live in the foothills of Dobbins, California (2 hours North of Sacramento, Ca). I live on a gravel dirt road with traffic that goes about 45 miles an hour. When they drive by our house it looks like something is on fire the dust is so thick. What can I plant to help catch and block the dust. We have dogs, chickens, and a free-range goat so I didn't want to plant an oleander but that's the size Im hoping whatever I plant will get. Thanks...

ANSWER:

Below are three evergreen shrubs/small trees that grow in Yuba County, California or in an adjacent county.  Any one of these should work well as a screen between your house and the dusty road.  Please check our National Suppliers Directory for nurseries that specialize in native plants in your area.

Calocedrus decurrens (Incense cedar) is a dense evergreen tree that can be used as an effective hedge.  Here are photos and more information from Las Pilitas Nursery in Escondido and Santa Margarita, California and Missouri Botanical Garden.

Adenostoma fasciculatum (Chamise) is an evergreen shrub that can grow to 10 feet and makes an excellent screening plant.   Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery and Plants for a Future.

Cercocarpus ledifolius (Curl-leaf mountain mahogany) is evergreen and grows to 15 feet.  Here is more information from Southwest Colorado Wildflowers and from Las Pilitas Nursery.

 California Poison Control System list of Non-Toxic and Toxic Plants "Know Your Plants!" shows Calocedrus decurrens (Incense cedar) listed as being a dermal irritant—"Skin contact with these plants can cause symptoms ranging from redness, itching, and rash to painful blisters like skin burns."  None of the other plants are on the California Poison Control System list.

 

More Trees Questions

Texas persimmon with scorched leaves from Austin
July 11, 2013 - I planted a Texas Persimmon seedling (five gallon) in my yard in early April. It is in a sunny, well-drained spot, and I have watered it regularly since planting. All was fine until the last weekend i...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing medium-sized tree for New Jersey
July 06, 2013 - I'm looking for trees to put on a slight slope that will do well in rocky clay soil. I 'm in N.J. zone 6. The spot is full sun and would like a fast grower 50 ft high maximum. I'm replacing white p...
view the full question and answer

Problems with native palms in Austin
April 10, 2011 - We had a large variety of California fan palms and blue sabal palms in our yard that were damaged during the last freeze. We found that several of them now have "spear pull," which means we could p...
view the full question and answer

Dealing with live oak suckers in Central Texas
March 05, 2015 - Hi, I have a couple huge Live Oak trees in my back yard. Trunks are 4' in diameter. These Live Oaks produce a lot of root sprouts/suckers. I had always head that a tree's roots feed on water/oxyg...
view the full question and answer

Fan-Tex ash tree roots a problem near house foundation from Bryan TX
February 23, 2013 - DO I need to worry about Fan TX roots being a problem near house foundations?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center