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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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Sunday - March 15, 2009

From: Topeka, KS
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Fast-growing shrub or tree to block dust from dirt road
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live on a dirt road in Northeast Kansas. Could you recommend a fast growing, low maintenance shrub/bush or small tree that will form a barrier to block the dust from the dirt road? It will be planted along a chainlink fence. Thanks

ANSWER:

Here are several possibilities for shrubs and small trees to help with your dust problem.

Euonymus atropurpureus (burningbush) and more information from Illinois Wildflowers

Physocarpus opulifolius (common ninebark)

Salix humilis (prairie willow)

Cornus drummondii (roughleaf dogwood)

Fraxinus pennsylvanica (green ash)

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) can grow into a large tree (>40 feet) and is not particularly fast-growing, but it will form a dense shrub if planted close together and pruned.  It is also evergreen.

Morus rubra (red mulberry)

Prunus angustifolia (Chickasaw plum)

You can find more possibilities by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database selecting 'Kansas' from the Select State or Province option and either 'Shrub' or 'Tree' from the Habitat (general appearance) option.


Euonymus atropurpureus

Physocarpus opulifolius

Salix humilis

Cornus drummondii

Juniperus virginiana

Morus rubra

Prunus angustifolia

 

 

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