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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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Sunday - May 25, 2014

From: Pflugerville , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Pfluegerville Screening Hedge
Answered by: Larry & Brigid Larson

QUESTION:

We live just north of Austin in a subdivision built on farm land so we have relatively flat land with good soil. We just put in a pool and are needing a privacy hedge along our 66 ft back fence. We need something slender at 3-4 ft wide and 10-15 ft or so high that doesn't attract alot of wasps and bees for kids with allergies to stings. Also we have 2 small dogs so something non-toxic to dogs.

ANSWER:

This Mr. Smarty Plants answered a question really similar to this about a year ago.  They were looking for a tall, really slender tree as a privacy screen.  Here is a link to: Privacy Tree for Austin, TX .   It also has several further references to screening plants suitable to your area.

And here are some similar question/answer pairs:
Fenceline trees for Northwest Austin 
Landscaping plans in Kyle TX

I’m not sure what to do about not attracting wasps and bees.  As you review individual plant suggestions, oftentimes they have annotations that they are attractive to birds, bees or other beneficial garden denizens. Those then can become ones you avoid!

Similarly, we have questions from folks who are concerned about plants that are toxic to dogs.  The ASPCA and other organizations have lists of these plants which you can cross-check against the plants you are considering.  Here is a link about a privacy screen from somebody who was also concerned about their dogs: Landscaping plans in Kyle TX 

This answer deals very extensively with several references to plants with respect to dogs:

Is Thalia dealbata toxic to dogs? 

As I read that information, here are a few trees that I think you should seriously consider:

Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar) [a bit tall and some toxic nature], Cercis canadensis var. mexicana (Mexican redbud), Cotinus obovatus (American smoke tree)Pistacia mexicana (Mexican pistachio),  and   Juniperus ashei (Ashe juniper) [This is our Ashe Juniper, hope you don’t suffer much from Cedar Fever!]

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Mexican redbud
Cercis canadensis var. mexicana

American smoke tree
Cotinus obovatus

Mexican pistachio
Pistacia mexicana

Ashe juniper
Juniperus ashei

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