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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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Tuesday - March 07, 2006

From: Baytown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Evergreen fast-growing native shrubs for privacy shield in Baytown, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

A gas well is going in across the road. We need a fast growing native tall shrub to line our property next to the road. It needs to maintain its leaves in the winter also. We hope to cut down on the dust and noise that the well will produce. We live in Baytown TX. Since we have about 200 feet that will need to be filled, it needs to be economical also.

ANSWER:

Here are five recommendations ranked by maximum height from smallest to largest:

1. Dwarf wax myrtle, Morella pusilla (5-6 feet)
2. Wax myrtle, Morella cerifera (6-12 feet)
3. Cherry laurel, Prunus caroliniana (15-20 feet)
4. Yaupon, Ilex vomitoria (12-25 feet)
5. Eastern red-cedar, Juniperus virginiana (more than 40 feet)

All are evergreen and commercially available. All but the yaupon are relatively fast growing. You might consider planting a combination of both the wax myrtle and dwarf wax myrtle interspersed with the cedar and the cherry laurel. Your particular habitat and soil may favor better growth in one or more of these. You can then add more of the ones that grow more rapidly and give better cover to your view of the gas well. The slower growing yaupon will add variety and interest as well as berries for birds and other wildlife.

You can find nurseries in your area that specialize in native plants by visiting the National Suppliers Directory.
 

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