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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - February 21, 2011

From: Seabrook, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Screen for utility box in Seabrook TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Utility box cover: Thinking of using star jasmine on a three sided fence/trellis. Each side 3 ft sq. I can send a picture. Not sure best fence style to use or way to plant. Suggestions? Need coverage to grow fast and be 36-40 inches in height, East facing area gets lots of sun. Presently have small Sego Palm in front of utility boxes but too slow of growth will have to remove, HOA not happy. Better alternatives? Thank you.

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Trachelospermum jasminoides, Star Jasmine, is native to China and therefore falls out of our area of expertise. It also can be quite invasive, will grow fast with longer vines. It can climb up trees or walls and can make the trees so top-heavy that they are liable to fall in a high wind. In fact, most vines will grow higher than you are planning on, and are deciduous so that you would have bare vines part of the year, not providing the coverage you are looking for.

We would recommend instead some native shrubs that can be planted, perhaps one on each side of your utility box, and trimming to remain an appropriate height. Evergreen shrubs will provide that coverage year round, and be relatively low-maintenance.

To make some selections, go to our Recommended Species section, click on East Texas on the map, which will take you to a list of native plants that should do well in your part of the state. On the sidebar at the right side of the page, select on "Shrub" under General Appearance, and "Sun" under Light Requirements, and then NARROW YOUR SEARCH. On a trial run, this gave us 11 selections, from which we chose Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) and Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon). Both are evergreen, can take the amount of sun you have, and tolerate severe hedging or pruning. Follow each plant link to the page in our website on that plant, where you can learn the proper care and amount of water needed, expected height, when it will bloom and so forth. There are also dwarf versions of both plants that would not need to be pruned quite so vigorously. 

Dwarf Shrubs for the Seabrook Area:

Dwarf Yaupon 'Nana'

Dwarf Yaupon Holly 'Schillings Dwarf"

'Stokes Dwarf'

Dwarf Morella Cerifera

Dwarf Southern Wax Myrtle

'Don's Dwarf'

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Ilex vomitoria


Ilex vomitoria


Morella cerifera


Morella cerifera

 

 

 

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Plant for privacy hedge in Oklahoma that is not poisonous to dogs
April 01, 2012 - Hello! I am looking to put a privacy hedge fence in my yard. I love the look of American Holly, however, I have a dog who eats everything so I worry that this will not be a wise choice with the b...
view the full question and answer

Pfluegerville Screening Hedge
May 25, 2014 - We live just north of Austin in a subdivision built on farm land so we have relatively flat land with good soil. We just put in a pool and are needing a privacy hedge along our 66 ft back fence. We ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen, deer resistant privacy screen for Villanova PA
March 29, 2013 - Looking for something that is deer resistant and ideally evergreen to block a shed and fence that my neighbor recently installed. Live in Eastern PA. Not the best drainage and also shade for most of...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for privacy in wet area in Ohio
July 13, 2011 - I am looking for flowering shrubs for Ohio that reach 8-10 feet and can handle wet feet. I am trying to avoid building a wall for privacy and would like to use flowering shrubs instead.
view the full question and answer

Landscaping plans in Kyle TX
February 12, 2012 - I am starting from scratch in a backyard (approx. 52'x25')in Central Texas (Kyle). The backyard is on the north side of the single story house. I would like to have plants and trees that attract and...
view the full question and answer

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