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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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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!

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Friday - November 23, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Drought-tolerant shrub for privacy screen
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Is there some kind of drought resistant bush or thorny plant we can rim our property with to stop all the foot traffic through our yard? We don't care if it's pretty, just something thick and/or thorny to stop people wandering through our property day and night. We have over an acre lot which is near IH35 and would like some privacy. We have bamboo on one side which works nicely, but can this be transplanted to grow on the empty side of our yard? Thank you!

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants has several recommendations, but they don't include your bamboo since it isn't native to your area and what we are all about at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants, and landscapes."

Since you are looking for privacy, Mr. SP is going to recommend several evergreen plants that are native to your area:

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita)—both thorny and evergreen

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac)

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush)

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar)—can be trimmed into a thick hedge

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)

Here are a couple that are both evergreen and very thorny, but are only 1-3 feet tall (unless they are in bloom):

Agave havardiana (Havard's century plant)

Agave univittata (thorncrest century plant)

Agave americana (American century plant)

You can look for nurseries and seed companies in your area that specialize in native plants by visiting our National Suppliers Directory.

 


Mahonia trifoliolata

Ilex vomitoria

Rhus virens

Leucophyllum frutescens

Juniperus virginiana

Morella cerifera

Agave havardiana

Agave univittata

Agave americana
 

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