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

Monday - December 07, 2009

From: Darien, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Shrubs for playground barrier hedge in Darien CT
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am working on my Eagle Scout project which is a barrier hedge in front of a playground at our town's baseball field to protect the kids from getting hit by balls. The fence would be 4 feet tall and needs to be pretty dense. It is in direct sun and good soil. Any info on what plants would be a good choice would be appreciated.

ANSWER:

That is an excellent choice for an Eagle Scout project, and we congratulate you. As you may know, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center focuses on the use, care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown. We do this because native plants will require less water, fertilization and maintenance, as well as continue to provide sustenance and shelter to native birds and butterflies. We are assuming you would like to have an evergreen plant, if some can be found that will do well in your area, in order for the protection to be year-round.The evergreen part can present some difficulties, as you are in USDA Hardiness Zone 6b, which means you can have average annual minimum temperatures of -5 to 0 deg. F. Another problem is the height; most evergreen shrubs are going to get taller than that, and require continual pruning to keep them at that height. And our favorite evergreen shrub for the Northeast, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick), with glossy evergreen leaves and red fruit, seldom gets over 1 ft. tall, and is considered a trailing ground cover, not suitable for your purposes. Follow each link to the page on that plant to see what light requirements it has, water use, expected height, etc. If you decide you could use a deciduous shrub; that is, not evergreen, you can go back to our Native Plant Database, search on Connecticut and "shrub" under General Appearance, and make your own selection. 

Barrier hedge shrubs for Darien, CT:

Ilex glabra (inkberry)

Ilex laevigata (smooth winterberry) - pictures

Juniperus communis var. depressa (common juniper)

Morella pensylvanica (northern bayberry) - pictures

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Ilex glabra

Morella pensylvanica
 

More Shrubs Questions

Evergreen privacy screen 8 feet or less
January 29, 2016 - In needing to plant an evergreen privacy screen, what is the tallest Ceniza variety? I'm having great difficulty finding an evergreen hedge material 8' or less. After having taken a class in pla...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing of leaves in Texas Mountain Laurel from Austin
June 25, 2012 - I planted a Texas Mountain Laurel in my Austin, TX yard this January. The tree was good sized (about 5 feet tall) when I planted it. Recently the leaves of the tree have started to turn yellow alon...
view the full question and answer

Native Plant for a Sunny South-facing House Wall in Tucson
March 01, 2014 - I have a problematic block wall on the south side of the house and I what a plant to soften the look of the wall. I tried butterfly bush which I'm told died from of bounce-back heat from the wall. I ...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of non-native Althea in Oklahoma
August 17, 2008 - I have 2 Althea bushes that will not bloom. For the past 2 years, they become covered in buds, which eventually yellow, but never open. The buds are fully developed. This year the branches have starte...
view the full question and answer

Dogwood under a black walnut in Mt.Pleasant MI
August 01, 2010 - Can I grow red or yellow twigged dogwood near a black walnut?
view the full question and answer

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