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 - October 09, 2013

From: Rumson, NJ
Region: Select Region
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Natural Privacy Planting for New Jersey
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have a question about privacy plantings in New Jersey (Monmouth County). We have a wooden fence around the perimeter of backyard with some various older trees. We wanted to start anew and wanted to know what would make sense to plant along the fence to create a nice natural privacy. We were thinking hollies but others have said they might not be best so close to the fence?

ANSWER:

The first place to go to find a list of potential plants is our Native Plants 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 – New Jersey, Habit – Shrub, Duration – Perennial, Leaf Retention – Evergreen, Light Requirement – Part Shade (or change this to full sun if the existing plants are further away), Soil Moisture – Moist, Size – 6-12 & 12-36 ft.
These search criteria will give you some evergreen shrubs and trees to consider. 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.

Small trees or large evergreen shrubs to consider for screening your fence are:
Taxus canadensis (Canada yew)  3-6 ft tall
Ilex glabra (inkberry) 6-12 ft tall  
Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)  6-12 ft tall   
Rhododendron maximum (great laurel) 4-15 ft tall

Most of these plants require an eventual growing space that is equal to their height, so you are on the smart to consider how far from your fence these plants are planted.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Canada yew
Taxus canadensis

Inkberry
Ilex glabra

Inkberry
Ilex glabra

Inkberry
Ilex glabra

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Great laurel
Rhododendron maximum

Great laurel
Rhododendron maximum

More Privacy Screening Questions

Native evergreen vine for St. Paul MN
June 17, 2010 - I am looking for a native vine that will stay green, or at least keep its leaves, throughout the winter. The vine will be grown on a trellis between our house and our neighbor's, and we want to keep...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for shrubs for a screening barrier along a fence line in Austin, TX.
July 24, 2009 - Hi! I am new to Austin and I live in a town home community that backs up to an existing neighborhood. There is no screening on my fenceline, which is only about 30 feet from my back porch! I also ha...
view the full question and answer

Low-Maintenance Hedge for Massachusetts
February 17, 2014 - I want to put in a native low-maintenance hedge in a sunny spot with plants that can take dry soil. I would like the plants to grow to less than 4 feet wide. It can be an informal hedge, but I don't ...
view the full question and answer

New York State Shrubs to Screen Home from Traffic
March 11, 2010 - I am looking for a native New York bush/small tree which I can use along a road to screen my home from year-round car traffic. The area is not terribly wide and the soil is OK. I am willing to prune a...
view the full question and answer

Need trees to screen view of parking garage in Houston, TX.
December 29, 2011 - We live in Houston, TX with a beautiful lot except a 4 story parking garage has been built behind us. How can we screen this and the lights out of site. It looks terrible from the second story espec...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center