Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
1 rating

Monday - August 10, 2015

From: Ft Worth, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Evergreen privacy screen
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We are looking for a good plant(s) that would provide a privacy screen by our fence. We were looking at clumping bamboo (maybe black) because it grows quickly and it not too thick. The new plants would get full sun all day, and can get blown by some pretty strong west-east winds at the north end of our property. Can you recommend bamboo, or another evergreen plant? Thank you! Jen

ANSWER:

Please don't plant bamboo of any sort.   First of all, it isn't native to your area of North Central Texas or even to North America.  Secondly, many bamboos are invasive and may take over your yard and your neighbor's yard, as well.  They are, technically, a grass and spread by rhizomes (underground stems) and are very difficult to eliminate if you decide to remove them.  The clumping bamboos are an exception and vary rarely send out runners, but they do occasionally send out runners and can spread.   Please read the article "Avoid Bamboo Like the Plague" by Danny Flanders from HGTVGardens.

The advantages to planting native plants are that they are adapted to the soil and the climate of the area and don't have to be babied.  If you visit our Special Collections page, you will find a section devoted to RECOMMENDED SPECIES BY STATE.  Since Texas is large the state is divided into sections and Fort Worth would be considered Texas–North Central.  On the list you can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option in the sidebar to limit the list to evergreen plants.

Here are a few recommendations from that list:

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) is evergreen, grows to 12 or 25 feet, easily makes a hedge and has the advantages of having red berries that attract birds.  Here is more information from Aggie Horticulture.

Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar) has several cultivars and is very good as a hedge.  Here are comments by Neil Sperry on My SA (San Antonio's homepage).  Virginia Cooperative Extension and ShadeMakerTrees have lists of some of the available cultivars.  Male plants produce pollen that some people are allergic to—the pollen, however, fertilizes the female cones that produce blue berries that are a source of food for wildlife. Most plant nurseries should be able to identify which ones are male and female since they are usually cloned from a known source.

There are two evergreen vines that can be used as privacy screens if you have a fence for them to grow on.  They are:

Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) and Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine)

Your privacy screen doesn't have to be a monoculture.  Another couple of evergreen plants that aren't on the list but do occur in Tarrant County and would add some interest are:

Sabal minor (Dwarf palmetto) and Salvia greggii (Autumn sage)

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Dwarf palmetto
Sabal minor

Autumn sage
Salvia greggii

More Invasive Plants Questions

Invasive Indian paintbrushes in Grawn MI
June 04, 2012 - I have lots of Indian paintbrushes crowding my lawn and taking over the grass..what kills it without killing the grass?
view the full question and answer

Removal of poison ivy by goat in Lone Jack MO
May 29, 2009 - Easy organic removal of poison ivy?? I bought a goat, but you can borrow a neighbors. Always get 2 as they get lonely. They love to eat poison ivy, pull up vine roots and all, and leave the grass.
view the full question and answer

Why is Common Horehound missing from NPIN?
March 27, 2014 - Hi there, I am not able to find Marrubium vulgare, i.e. Common or White Horehound, in the Native Plant Database. It grows abundantly on our ranch in Central Texas, and I am attempting to grow i...
view the full question and answer

Use of chemicals for eradicating invasive plants
April 24, 2008 - Re: Round Up We are extremely reluctant to use any chemical agents in our yard (or around our home) due to environmental & ecological reasons... However, we are becoming inundated with several ver...
view the full question and answer

Are non-seeding Bermudgrass hybrids invasive?
July 15, 2010 - Since Cynodon dactylon (Bermudagrass) is listed as an invasive species (texasinvasives.org), do you feel the non-seed producing Bermudagrass hybrids would also be considered invasive? Assuming a hybri...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.