Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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

Tuesday - May 27, 2008

From: Floral Park, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Evergreen screening shrubs for New York
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I need evergreen screening shrubs that aren't too deep. The shrubs are to be planted along an existing wrought iron fence, which is a few feet behind a children's swing set.

ANSWER:

We are rather limited in the native evergreen shrubs that will be a good choice near a children's play area, but here are a couple:

Ilex glabra (inkberry). You can read more about several of the cultivars. Although generally a rounded shrub, it can be pruned to shape it to your space. Here is more information from Ohio State University.

Mahonia aquifolium (hollyleaved barberry). You can find information for several of the cultivars from the University of Connecticut and more information from Virginia Tech. This plant does have leaves that are spiny so it might not be ideal for your area with small children.

Here are a few native evergreens to avoid because they have toxic properties:

Leucothoe fontanesiana (highland doghobble)

Kalmia spp.

Rhododendron spp.

You find information about poisonous plants in Poisonous Plants of North Carolina and Cornell University Poisonous Plants Informational Database.

As an alternative to an evergreen shrub you might consider ferns that are evergreen and reasonably tall. Here are a few suggestions:

Dryopteris cristata (crested woodfern)

Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)


Ilex glabra

Mahonia aquifolium

Dryopteris cristata

Dryopteris marginalis

Polystichum acrostichoides
 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Native plants for privacy screen in Austin
March 11, 2008 - I would like some suggestions for plants to form a privacy screen between our backyard and our neighbor's. The site is shady, under old Texas Ash and pecan trees, and is located in North central Aust...
view the full question and answer

Privacy hedge, thick, fast-growing in Georgetown TX
August 31, 2010 - I want to plant a privacy hedge in Austin Texas Edwards escarpment so it's rocky soil. Looking for something thick, fast growing and can be kept to 7'. It's along a wrought iron fence and ranges fr...
view the full question and answer

Screen plants to replace non-native Chinese raintrees in Marble Falls, TX
February 15, 2010 - Five four year old Koelreuteria bipinnata (Chinese Rain) trees were mistakenly cut to the ground. They were planted fairly close together, perhaps ten feet apart. The purpose for them was to provide a...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen hedge for screen in Austin
November 02, 2008 - We are looking for a tall, fast growing, drought tolerant, evergreen hedge to run along our ~200' back property line in West Lake, west of Austin, TX. This is at the bottom of a slope, and runs th...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs/ Trees for Privacy Screening on Cape Cod
April 17, 2012 - Hi, I need a recommendation for a row of trees/shrubs that I can put on my boundary line to block my neighbor. It's in a wooded area that I could thin somewhat. I would need them to be fast growing...
view the full question and answer

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