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

Wednesday - August 10, 2011

From: long beach, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Need suggestions for plants for a privacy screen in Long Beach, NY.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have recently added 1500sq.ft. to my backyard. My backyard faces a busy road. I would like to place native trees and bushes along the fence for added privacy, shade and to protect my house from the wind. Do you know which native plants are hardy, grow quickly and are good for this? Thank you

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants receives numerous inquiries concerning appropriate plants for privacy screens. He doesn’t have a “list for all occasions”, so he is going to introduce you to our Native Plant Database,  that you can use to help you select the plants for your landscaping project. The Database contains the names of 7,188 species of native plants from which to choose. There are several ways to use the Database, and we are going to start by using the Recommended Species list.

 After clicking on Native Plant Database, scroll down to the Recommended Species List box and click on the View Recommended Species page. Next, click on New York on the map, and you will get a list 112 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in New York. This is more information than you need, so let’s eliminate some of the names for now. You mentioned perhaps planting bushes, so lets see what’s available. Go to the Narrow Your Search box to the right of the window and make the following selections: select New York under State, Shrub under habit, and Perennial under duration. Check Sun under Light Requirement and Moist under Soil Moisture (or use the conditions that apply to your site). Click on the Narrow Your Search button and the list is reduced to five. Clicking on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page that has a description of the plant, its growth requirements, and photos. These can help you select plants suitable for your location. Pay attention to the moisture and soil requirements of the plants so you can match the plants to your growing situation.

Repeat the process, and this time select Tree under habit, leaving the other choices the same. This will give you a list of 27 trees to choose from.

For some help closer to home, you could contact the folks at the Nassau County office of Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Growth rates vary from plant to plant depending on the growing conditions. For perrenials, a growth rate of 2-3 ft./year is considered fast growth.

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Screening trees for PA
March 13, 2011 - We are looking to plant some privacy trees in back of our home. Since our neighbor is directly behind us but we don't want to plant something distasteful to our neighbor. Do you have a recommendation...
view the full question and answer

Low water hedge for Sedona, AZ
August 19, 2009 - I'm looking for a shrub to plant along a 90' property line with my neighbor in Sedona, Arizona (high desert). Ideally, the shrub would grow to about 8' and would not require too much water. What wo...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen screen for Michigan
June 15, 2009 - Hi Mr. Smarty Pants, I need help. Can you please suggest some (preferably evergreen) shrubs and trees that will thrive in our backyard that will provide us some privacy from our neighbors (about ...
view the full question and answer

Puppy-friendly privacy screen in Montana
November 02, 2012 - I need some puppy-friendly short(< 30') privacy from the gigantic windows of my next door neighbor. But- there are power lines above the area that I needed to plant! I had planned on an aspen grove, ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for delineating property line
July 18, 2010 - I have a neighbor who does not mow his grass or take care of a strip that runs between my property and his. I would like to plant some inexpensive, low maintenance, shrubs, that would do well in full...
view the full question and answer

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