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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - March 28, 2009

From: Anchorage, AK
Region: Northwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Screening plants for Alaska
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Just purchased a house and want more privacy along the fence lines. Which plants would work well in the cold environment but provide privacy without taking over the yard.

ANSWER:

Since you want a privacy screen, it would be very nice to have some evergreen choices. However, since most of the evergreens in your area are either ground-hugging or grow to be very large trees, I can really recommend only one, Picea mariana (black spruce).  Here are photos.  It might be possible to use Cupressus nootkatensis (Alaska cedar) even though it can reach 80 feet since it is a very slow-growing tree. Here are photos.

You have many more choices for deciduous native shrubs/small trees that should work well as a privacy screen along your fence.  The ones listed below all occur in the general area of Anchorage:

Cornus sericea (redosier dogwood)

Crataegus douglasii (black hawthorn) and here are photos

Elaeagnus commutata (silverberry)

Rosa acicularis (prickly rose)

Rosa nutkana (Nootka rose)

Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus (grayleaf red raspberry)

Rubus spectabilis (salmonberry)

Salix bebbiana (Bebb willow)

Sambucus racemosa var. racemosa (red elderberry)

Shepherdia canadensis (russet buffaloberry)


Cornus sericea

Elaeagnus commutata

Rosa acicularis

Rosa nutkana

Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus

Rubus spectabilis

Salix bebbiana

Sambucus racemosa var. racemosa

Shepherdia canadensis

 

 


 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Plants to hide utility boxes
July 16, 2008 - What are suggestions for plants to plant around utilities boxes (3 of them clustered together) to effectively camouflage them but be attractive. We will outline a larger area in brick, plant evergree...
view the full question and answer

Need to know how to plant trees to create a windbreak in Ashburn, VA.
May 06, 2010 - I want to know how to plant trees to create windbreaks. I live on a slope of a hill, the front of the house is steep and the back of the house has neighbors in a cul de sac. I swear I live in a wind...
view the full question and answer

Native evergreen vine for St. Paul MN
June 17, 2010 - I am looking for a native vine that will stay green, or at least keep its leaves, throughout the winter. The vine will be grown on a trellis between our house and our neighbor's, and we want to keep...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Hedge Plant for CA
January 26, 2016 - We recently moved into a new home right on the border of Cherry Valley and Beaumont, Ca. We are at an elevation of 2,900 ft. We are looking for a plant that we can use as a privacy hedge along our bac...
view the full question and answer

Thorny shrub for deterring break-ins in southeast Texas
February 05, 2013 - Looking for a very, very, thorny three or four foot tall shrub for in front of windows to deter break-ins. Considering Rosa Rugosa rose but it is not native.
view the full question and answer

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