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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.

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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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Thursday - March 24, 2016

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Privacy Screening, Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: mixed species privacy hedge in Central Texas
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I need to plant a privacy hedge along a fence line. I am in east Austin, blackland prairie soil. The soil is rich, usually at least moist but not soggy, and I find lots of worms when I dig. The fence is shaded for most of the day. I want a mix of species rather than a monoculture, the more diversity the better. I'd like some of them to be evergreens and tall (for the privacy part). I especially want plants that can help the wildlife and/or provide food and medicinals. Natives are best because I don't plan to do much maintenance. Can you recommend some species that would grow well together in the shade? Thanks!

ANSWER:

Most of the tall, evergreen plants suitable for your area are relatively slow growing. Probably the best choices include Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon )Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle )Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) and Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar).  

For smaller species I suggest that you visit our Native Plant Database page and, a bit down the page on the left side click on Combination Search.  Fill in the information that fits your requirements and you will get a list of suitable species to consider.  I particularly recommend Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (Turk's cap or turkscap) and Mahonia trifoliolata (Agarita), shade-tolerant species that grow especially well in Austin.

Most of the plants you choose should be available at one of the local plant nurseries.  Google on Native Plant Nurseries - Austin, TX.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Turk's cap
Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Agarita
Mahonia trifoliolata

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