Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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 - February 15, 2010

From: Moscow, ID
Region: Midwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Privacy screen in Idaho
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Hello Mr. Smarty Plants, I need to add privacy to a chain link fence. The fence is shaded by large trees.They add shade from up high but little privacy at fence level.What would you recommend I plant to cover my fence.I am open to anything, vine, shrub, whatever will give privacy and grow well in the shade. I live in North Idaho, we have fairly cold Winters and hot Summers.Thank you for your help!

ANSWER:

This is a bit of a challenge as you are dealing with two issues: shade and dry soil.  Large shade trees are a huge asset but they can out-compete grass and other plants a gardener would like growing underneath them. It can be tough to get plants established in these conditions but not impossible.  You will have to hand water them until they are well established and keep an eye on them in drought conditions.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the promotion of native plants and landscapes.  That means that we can only recommend plants to you that are native to your area.  If you visiit our Native Plant database and do a Combination Search by selecting Idaho and then "dry" and "shade" conditions you will see that the choices are somewhat limited.  You are hoping to cover a fence and provide some privacy, so you are probably looking for evergreens to fit the bill, but you will see there is only one.

Ultimately, your choices will be limited by the selection of plants available in your local nurseries, but here are a few plants we have selected from the list.

Shrubs

Amelanchier alnifolia (Saskatoon serviceberry)

Mahonia aquifolium (hollyleaved barberry)

Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)

Rosa nutkana (Nootka rose)

Symphoricarpos albus (common snowberry)

You will have difficulty finding a vine (except poison ivy!) that will grow in these conditions but if you have at least two hours of sunlight you might look for these.

Vines

Clematis columbiana (rock clematis)

Parthenocissus vitacea (woodbine)

 


Amelanchier alnifolia

Mahonia aquifolium

Rhus glabra

Rosa nutkana

Symphoricarpos albus

Clematis columbiana

 

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Evergreen sumacs for privacy along fence
August 02, 2014 - I would like to plant enough Evergreen Sumacs along our fence for privacy for the length of our backyard which is 60 ft. Fifteen feet on the left and right ends are shaded with the right side being d...
view the full question and answer

FAST GROWING PRIVACY PLANTS IN EL PASO, TEXAS
October 11, 2010 - Hello, First, I am totally ignorant of plants,trees planting,etc. However, I just moved to El Paso, Tx and find every home is surrounded by these hideous rock walls, which aren't nearly tall enough t...
view the full question and answer

Need small, fast growing trees for privacy screen in Buda, TX.
February 01, 2013 - Please recommend some small, but fast growing, flowering trees to plant along a western fence for privacy
view the full question and answer

Additional screening under yaupons in Georgetown TX
November 09, 2011 - We live on a corner and have a berm along the south side of our yard which blocks our backyard from the street. It was planted with uprights yaupons. With the drought, deer have eaten the bottom por...
view the full question and answer

Oak root resistant hedge for Southern California
December 28, 2013 - I live in Southern California and my cypress hedge has oak root fungus. What kind of hedge can I plant that will grow fast and be resistant to the fungus?
view the full question and answer

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