En Espa—ol

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

Fast Growing Shrub for Oceanside New York Site
April 17, 2015 - Can you recommend a tall, fast-growing shrub for a sandy location (near an ocean beach in New York) in full sun? Iím looking for a privacy shield.
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants for a privacy screen in Arlington, VA.
June 22, 2011 - I am looking for a tall-growing tree/shrub to act as a privacy screen with neighbors on two existing borders, including, e.g., blocking out the neighbors tall swing set gym, deck, and other activity, ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreens for privacy screen in WI
May 29, 2011 - We'd like to add privacy to our backyard with evergreen trees. The problem with this area is it very wet and the ground is soft and mushy until the dry summer conditions. We've rocklined the the a...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for pool in California
November 24, 2009 - Hi, We have new neighbors overlooking our pool and peering into our house. We want to put up a privacy screen along our back fence that runs the length of the pool, but the border running along the ...
view the full question and answer

Trees and shrubs in Wisconsin
July 30, 2009 - I live in Hudson, WI, just across the border from Minn/St Paul and would like to create a privacy screen between my front yard and my neighbors yard. Right now it's full sun, but I want to plant a c...
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