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

Wednesday - March 08, 2006

From: Richmond, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Native drought resistant evergreen plants for privacy hedgein clay soil in Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

My family would like to create privacy around our 4 acres of fence line. What native evergreen or fast growing bushes would work? We have terrible clay soil and need drought resistant plants.

ANSWER:

Here are four suggestions 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. Yaupon, Ilex vomitoria (12-25 feet)
4. Eastern red-cedar, Juniperus virginiana (more than 40 feet)

All are evergreen, drought resistant, tolerate clay soils, and are commercially available. The wax myrtles will need water until they are well-established, but then should do fine in drought conditions. All but the yaupon are relatively fast growing. If your soil is the shrink-swell waxy-type clay that's had the loamy topsoil stripped away, you might consider planting native grasses in with the native woody plants to break up the clays over time with their fibrous roots, allowing for better moisture retention. You might consider planting a combination of both the wax myrtle and dwarf wax myrtle interspersed with the cedar and yaupon. 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. 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.
 

More Trees Questions

Trimming live oaks in Mamou LA
August 24, 2009 - We have 3 large Live Oak trees in our yard. The problem we are having is when we trim a branch off so we can walk under the branch, the whole branch dies back. Is there a certain way to trim the limbs...
view the full question and answer

Offer to send Bumelia to Kansas from Central Texas.
April 02, 2010 - If you send my email to the person who wanted the Bumelia lanuginosa (synonym: Sideroxylon langinosum), I will dig some for him/her.
view the full question and answer

Spacing of Trees near a House Foundation
June 18, 2015 - Can you recommend non-invasive shade tree that can be planted 6 to 7 feet from foundation. We are buying a new home in zone 8a and choices that are given are: Live Oak, Lacebark Elm, Cedar Elm, and B...
view the full question and answer

When is it time to remove diseased oak trees in Belton, TX?
May 03, 2013 - When to give up on my live oaks. We lost/mostly several live oaks since 2011 and the drought. One, died from the crown, one large mass at a time, and now resembles a 10' totem pole with scraggly gro...
view the full question and answer

Life span of pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica
May 12, 2015 - Do you have any data on the lifespan of pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica) under urban conditions where is Not subject to seral succession (trees won't be permitted to overtake it)? On the other hand ...
view the full question and answer

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