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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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Sunday - November 28, 2010

From: austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Evergreen Hedge for Austin
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

Hello, We live in Austin and have a yard that is almost fully shaded. We have a few burford holly bushes there, but would like to add some evergreen interest. We would love a tall hedge (around 8 ft or so). Any suggestions? The burford holly bushes have the small leaves, but seem to be doing very well. They are about 7 ft tall now. All the small trees I seem to research need more sun. The evergreen sumac sounds lovely but it may need more sun than we get and also I can't find any place that seems to sell it! Help!

ANSWER:

First, Ilex cornuta (Buford holly) is not native to the Austin area (or the state of Texas) so Mr. Smarty plants has no comment on that (if you had a question).

Getting to your question, this sounds like a spot made for Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon). This plant can be trimmed into a dense hedge, it tolerates the usual Austin conditions of heat and drought, and it grows well in the shade.

Other possibilities include Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) and Rhus virens (Evergreen sumac), which you mentioned. Both of these will require more sun than the yaupon, but will make attractive hedges.


Ilex vomitoria


Morella cerifera


Rhus virens

 

 

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