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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 - October 26, 2010

From: Casper, WY
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Need a shrub that can tolerate high winds in Casper, WY.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I need a medium height evergreen shrub that can tolerate severe winds, extreme cold, and requires little water. I live in Casper WY, which is high-desert, 5,000 foot elevation, zone 4. We have roaming antelope and a few deer. I don't mind if they graze on the shrubs, as long as they don't completely demolish them. I want to plant these shrubs along the top of a bluff which gets almost constant wind, sometimes up to 50 - 70 MPH, throughout the year. Thank you for any help you can provide!

ANSWER:

In our databases, we have sun plants, shade plants, and plants for dry habitats, but we don't have a category for "wind-proof" plants. The minimal wind speed for a Level I hurricane is 75 miles per hour.

Here are three things that I'm going to suggest for you to do. First, go to our  Recommended Species Page,  and click on your state on the map. Go to the Narrow Your Search box to the right of the page and make these selections: select Wyoming under State, shrub under General Appearance, and perennial under Lifespan. Check Sun under Light Requirement, and Dry under Soil Moisture. The Bloom TIme and Bloom Color are immaterial for now. Click the Narrow your search button and you will get a list of 13 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in Wyoming. Clicking on the name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page with information about plant characteriatics, growth requirements, and images. Like I said, the pages don't tell about wind resistance, but this leads me to my second suggestion; look around the area to see what species are already growing in that type of environment. The people at the Natrona County Office of the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service should be able to help you with this, and perhaps make recommendations.

These two articles about wind breaks may give you ideas about the kind of plants to use on your bluff.

USDA

Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources

 

 

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