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

Saturday - November 20, 2010

From: Seattle, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Large evergreens for screen in Seattle
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Our building would like large evergreens to help with freeway noise (it's right across the street with a large green belt around it.) Which Northwest Evergreens would work best? We need tall and wide ones being that it is a very big area to cover. Thanks!

ANSWER:

Why not use the Washington State Tree, Tsuga heterophylla (Western hemlock)?  It grows to 100 feet high in cultivation and nearly twice that tall in nature.   It has a graceful appearance with drooping branches and grows in variety of soils but likes humid or superhumid climatic conditions with adequate soil moisture.  Read more about it from the U. S. Forest Service and see photos and more information from Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

Another possibility is Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas fir), the Oregon State Tree.  It grows to around 200 feet, but landscape trees grow only to about 80 feet tall and 15 to 20 wide.  If it is growing alone or widely spaced from other trees, it usually retains its lower limbs.  If crowded, it may lose the lower limbs, exposing the trunk.  You can read about the tree and see more photos from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.  See, also, the University of Connecticul Horticulture site for more information.

Thuja plicata (Western red cedar) is another large (typically up to 75 feet, but can grow to 200 feet or more) evergreen that usually retains its lower branches. It is more decay resistant than the Western hemlock or the Douglas fir.  There are photos and more information from Washington State Department of Natural Resources and from Conifers.org.

Finally, there is Picea sitchensis (Sitka spruce) that prefers coastal areas but will grow inland in well watered soils such as river flood plains.  Here are photos and more information from Washington State Department of Natural Resources and Conifers.org.

Here are photos of the Douglas fir from our Image Gallery:


Pseudotsuga menziesii


Pseudotsuga menziesii


Pseudotsuga menziesii

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Evergreen shrub for screening from Austin
March 25, 2012 - Is there an evergreen, fruit shrub which grows 8 to 10 feet high, having about 6 to 8 hours of sun which could be trimmed to serve as a screen in front of pool equipment on the side of our house?
view the full question and answer

Screen of Thuja Occidentalis on fire-damaged property in Bastrop TX
May 04, 2013 - I want to plant a screen of Thuja Occidentalis on the east side of our driveway. It is in the burn area of Bastrop, TX. None of our trees survived. Will Thuja Occidentalis grow here? I saw some specim...
view the full question and answer

Patio Privacy Screen Suggestions for Central Texas
March 17, 2013 - I have just built a patio and want to plant some small trees, bushes or shrubs to form a visual barrier (rather than to erect a fence)to the neighbors yard.
view the full question and answer

Water-Wise Privacy Hedge for California
February 22, 2016 - I would like recommendations for a privacy hedge that would grow at least 12 feet tall with non-invasive roots and hopefully water-wise in Los Angeles.
view the full question and answer

Small trees for property edge in Katy TX
April 16, 2012 - By deed restriction, I must have five trees on the side of my small suburban lot just west of Houston, TX. Due to the lot layout, the trunks are only about 8-10 feet from the house, with the trees abo...
view the full question and answer

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