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

Tuesday - March 20, 2012

From: Peachtree City, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Plants for pool privacy from Peachtree GA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We currently reside in Georgia and have a pool surrounded by a fence. However, because our house is located on a hill, my neighbor on the left side can very easily still see my backyard and we can see theirs. We were wondering what tall shrub or trees we can plant that won't lose too many leaves and with short roots that won't damage the concrete surrounding the pool. We are considering palm trees but these still won’t give me the privacy that I need.

ANSWER:

We were all ready with several suggestions until you threw in the pool. The concrete of the pool structure and walkways around it and the fact that you don't want to be continually cleaning up plant waste greatly complicates that. What we would suggest  is not tall trees, but dense shrubs at eye-level for privacy. Shrubs would also be better in terms of not needing such wide-reaching roots to support a large, heavily-topped tree. All woody plants, shrubs and trees are going to shed leaves, needles, blooms, berries and twigs, not to mention birds who will come for berries and leave the waste behind on the poolside deck. 

Without knowing what your property layout is, and the location of the dirt for these plants, about the best that we can do is recommend some shrubs native to your area, and direct you to our webpage on those plants. You need to check the amount of sunshine on the area daily, and choose plants based on that. Also on the webpage you can learn the projected height of a plant, whether it is a low or high user of water. It is getting late in the season to be planting woody plants, as we recommend shrubs and trees in the South be planted in November to January when the plants are dormant. If you must plant them now, do it soon, and be prepared to water them deeply  by sticking a hose down in the dirt and letting it dribble until water comes to the surface. Unless you are getting regular rains, this should be done twice a week until the shrubs are well established. We will check each of our selections to make sure it grows natively in Fayette County, west central Georgia. You can do your own search by going to our Native Plant Database, specifying the amount of sunlight you have, the height range you want, whether it should be evergreen or deciduous, etc.

You will also need to consider the dirt you have, the width of the space and what kind of soil it is. It is always a good idea to work a good quality compost into the soil, both to raise the level, help with drainage and make nutrients available to the tiny little rootlets. From our Step-by-Step articles, here is one on How to Plant a Tree. Just call your shrub a "short tree" and it will work out fine.

Shrubs for Privacy Native to Tye County, Georgia:

Aesculus pavia var. pavia (Scarlet buckeye)

Amelanchier arborea (Common serviceberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Calycanthus floridus (Eastern sweetshrub)

Cephalanthus occidentalis (Common buttonbush)

Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf hydrangea)

 

From the Image Gallery


Scarlet buckeye
Aesculus pavia var. pavia

Common serviceberry
Amelanchier arborea

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

Eastern sweetshrub
Calycanthus floridus

Common buttonbush
Cephalanthus occidentalis

Oakleaf hydrangea
Hydrangea quercifolia

More Shrubs Questions

Dog Friendly Privacy Hedge for Long Island
April 14, 2013 - Can you please advise me of some plants for a privacy hedge that are non-toxic to dogs and that would thrive on Long Island, NY? I am looking for a hedge to grow to about 6-8 ft.
view the full question and answer

How to keep persimmons from staining patio
August 10, 2008 - We have approximately 4 female persimmons bearing fruit around our back patio. Birds are carrying the berries to our patio and eating them which leaves a dark stain on our patio. I'm having to go o...
view the full question and answer

Darkened leaves on blueberry bush
July 02, 2008 - I have a blueberry bush planted in a very large pot. It has been doing very well, producing berries and new growth. All of a sudden the leaves have begun to turn dark. I have it potted in good soil...
view the full question and answer

Texas natives that attract butterflies but not deer
December 13, 2012 - I'd like to have some plants in my garden that are butterfly attractors, but that whitetail deer won't like. I can find lists of butterfly plants, and lists of deer-resistant plants -- is there a li...
view the full question and answer

Ailing Tecoma stans from Phoenix AZ
August 24, 2012 - I have several young Tecoma plants in my Phoenix, AZ garden. I planted them in June and have tended to them over the summer. They are watered twice daily. On some of the plants, I've noticed two oddi...
view the full question and answer

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