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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - December 14, 2008

From: Marble Falls, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Living fence of native plants in Central Texas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I would like to plant a living fence around my property in central Texas. What trees/plants will survive the Texas weather best without taking years to provide visual shield?

ANSWER:

The best way to find plants that will survive Texas weather is to use plants native to the area in which they are being grown. We have selected six plants native to Central Texas, all of which can be trained up to small trees or allowed to remain as shrubs, for greater privacy. All are evergreen except for Ilex decidua (possumhaw), which displays red berries all winter. Both of the members of the Ilex genus and the wax myrtle have berries only on the female plant, and must have a male of the same species within 30 to 40 feet to in order to produce berries. These plants are all moderate in growth rate, with the exception of the Mahonia, which tend to be a little slower-growing. They are all commercially available, and if you have any difficulty locating a source, go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type in your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" box, and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and landscape consultants in your general area. From right now until February would be a good time to plant these woody plants, permitting them to get their roots established before the Texas heat arrives. 

Ilex decidua (possumhaw) - deciduous, females with persistent bright red berries in winter

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) - evergreen, females with bright red berries

Mahonia swaseyi (Texas barberry) 3 to 4 ft. tall, evergreen

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) - 3 to 6 ft. tall, evergreen

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac) - 8 to 12 ft. tall, evergreen

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) - 6 to 12 ft. tall, evergreen, fragrant foliage, attractive to birds


Ilex decidua

Ilex decidua

Ilex vomitoria

Mahonia swaseyi

Mahonia trifoliolata

Rhus virens

Morella cerifera

Morella cerifera

 

 

More Trees Questions

Mystery Fruit in Ashland Oregon
November 10, 2010 - Hi, I live in Oregon and while I was picking wild apples I came across what I thought was a lemon tree. I picked some of the smaller fruits that grew in pairs and had a small, yellow lemon appearance ...
view the full question and answer

Tree with brown spots on leaves containing caterpillars
July 14, 2011 - We have a new little tree we planted in our yard and I went over to admire it and on each leaf there is a brown spot in which little worms are living. They are alive and moving around in the pocket th...
view the full question and answer

Further explanation of retaining walls and trees from Washington MO
March 11, 2013 - I had a question previously about putting retaining walls across the root system of a 40' tall bald cypress tree(not like spokes on a wheel, but concentric to tree trunk). How wide can the walls be? ...
view the full question and answer

Soapberry Transplant shock symptoms
July 21, 2006 - Please suggest a cause & cure for general yellowing of the leaves of Western Soapberry when planted in the ground 20 miles NW of Austin (thin, poor clay over limestone). Trees still in containers are...
view the full question and answer

More trees to go with live oaks in Schertz TX
July 13, 2010 - We moved to a new house that has two recently planted live oak trees. Other than those two little trees there is nothing else on the property. Because of what I read about the oak wilt I would like ...
view the full question and answer

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