Contact Us Host an Event 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
1 rating

Tuesday - July 26, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Privacy Screening
Title: Alternate native plants for bamboo as a privacy screen in Austin, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Can you recommend a bamboo that I can plant, acting as a privacy screen, reaching at least 10'-12'? We are looking for a bamboo that does not spread, and can take the afternoon sun. It will be planted in the Oak Hill area of Austin, TX. Thank you!

ANSWER:

The short answer is yes and no, but first a word from our sponsor. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants grow natively. The one species of bamboo that is native to North America is Arundinaria gigantea ( see also) It prefers moist habitats, and may not present the look that you want.

The other species of bamboo that you see in landscapes are non-native, and as such, fall outside the focus of the Wildflower Center. We catch heat for that stance (see previous question), but native plants are what we do.

One of the attractions to bamboo plants is that they are some of the fastest growing plants on the planet. This also means that some of them can be terribly invasive, and terribly hard to get rid of.

What I would like to do is point out some alternatives to using bamboo as a privacy screen. Mr. Smarty Plants is continuously receiving inquires about which plants to use for privacy screens, so he is going to refer you to several previously answered questions on this topic. Its like a sharing of the ancient wisdom of the “Green Gurus” if you will. Most of these will be from Texas.

In these answers, you will find directions for using our Native Plant Database, and lists of plants that have been suggested for various locations. Some of the answers have links to other previous questions that Mr. Smarty Plants has answered.

6810

6639

4355

1887

5327

In an attempt to appear fair and balanced, here is a link to the Texas Bamboo Society.

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Reseeding a dead lawn in Wimberley TX
February 07, 2012 - Our new house had a sodded lawn that now appears dead. There remains a layer of sandy soil as a part of the sodding process. Is there a way to reseed these existing slabs of sod and what process wo...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Invasive Plants
June 22, 2004 - What is an invasive plant?
view the full question and answer

Information about empress tree (Paulownia tomentosa)
March 07, 2008 - I have an Empress Tree, 3 yrs old, and the limbs grow straight out from the trunk about 2-3ft and then grow straight upward. When do they start to grow outward for a canopy??
view the full question and answer

Winter weeds in Flower Mound TX
February 19, 2009 - My lawn is being overrun by winter weeds. How can I get rid of them? Should I wait until March when I put down weed and feed fertilizer?
view the full question and answer

Do white-tailed deer consume King Ranch bluestem?
October 25, 2013 - Will white-tail deer in central Texas consume King Ranch bluestem ?
view the full question and answer

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