Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
2 ratings

Friday - January 14, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Fenceline trees for Northwest Austin
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

We live in Northwest Austin, near 183 and Anderson Mill. Our neighbor recently cut down all their trees in their backyard, which provided nice afternoon shade for us. We would like to re-plant some trees along our fenceline that would be fast growing and provide both shade and privacy. We'd be interested in both evergreen and deciduous trees.

ANSWER:

What a fun project! When Mr. Smarty Plants recommends plants it is of the local native species; these can be reviewed by searching the “recommended species” list that can be found in the Plant Database page.   You can also narrow the search by selecting the central region of the state of Texas, “Tree” as the general appearance, and then review the records returned for your fast growth and density [privacy] requirement. 

As you might imagine, this gives a number of options; several that I like include Catalpa speciosa (Northern catalpa), which is fast growing but a bit tall, Cercis canadensis var. mexicana (Mexican redbud) for good color, Cotinus obovatus (American smoke tree)Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar)Pistacia mexicana (Mexican pistachio), Quercus fusiformis (Escarpment live oak) and, for lots of color, Rhus lanceolata (Prairie flameleaf sumac). Another evergreen would be Texas sage, Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo), although it is more like a very large shrub, and also the yaupon, Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon), which will give you lovely red berries in the winter.

Here’s a few pictures of some of the more interesting of these.

                             

Catalpa speciosa        Cercis canadensis var. mexicana    Cotinus obovatus          Rhus lanceolata

 Some of these may grow a bit big for a city fenceline.  If you think so, you may want to steer the appearance towards “shrub” and look for some of the taller specimens.   I’ve got a number of colorful favorites in that list also!

 

More Trees Questions

Non-blooming crape myrtle in Italy, TX
June 25, 2008 - It's Italy, TX, again! Thanks for the advice and links, and I'll study those..but here's where I'm stumped on crape myrtle. I have two (almost) trees because they've been planted over 15 years ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning cherry laurel in January in Austin
January 07, 2011 - Do trust I checked Q&A first. Can Cherry Laurel shrubs be pruned earlier than late winter in Austin? I foolishly planted 12 native Cherry Laurel standards on our suburban property line 5 years ago. I ...
view the full question and answer

Disease or insect damage on a Mexican plum
September 08, 2013 - Help, Our Mexican plum tree is about 13-14 years old. Earlier this year we noticed the trunk is oozing black stuff and whole branches are dying off. We have watched as our beloved tree has lost most ...
view the full question and answer

Growth on trunk of Eastern Redbud
November 14, 2007 - My seven yr. old Eastern Redbud has a large patch (12x4inches) of white grey, shell or mushroom-like growth on the trunk. The bark has a wide split so the growth is on the layer of wood inside the sp...
view the full question and answer

Effect of pecan trees on pool deck from Clovis CA
February 14, 2013 - I have pecan trees next to our pool deck. Are pecan trees invasive, will they lift up our pool deck?
view the full question and answer

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