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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - April 30, 2012

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Evergreen for privacy screen in San Antonio
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am looking to plant native fast-growing evergreens that will provide privacy (growing taller than our fence). We live in San Antonio and the Red Tip Photinia seems to be everywhere! I heard that this is not a good choice due to a fungus that may attack it at some point. What are some good options? Thanks!

ANSWER:

First of all, since our focus and expertise are with plants native to North America, we wouldn't recommend planting Photina x fraseri (Red-tip photinea) since it is a hybrid of P. glabra (from Japan) and P. serrulata (from China).  Plus, it is very susceptible to leafspot fungus.

Below are some possibilities for evergreen shrubs for your fence.   I am afraid that none of them could be considered fast growing

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) and here is more information.  Growth rate is moderate to moderately fast.

Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo) and here is more information.  Growth rate is fairly fast with adequate water.

Mahonia trifoliolata (Agarita) and here is more information.  Growth rate is slow.

Guajacum angustifolium (Texas lignum-vitae) and here is more information.  Growth rate unknown.

Schaefferia cuneifolia (Desert yaupon) and here are more photos and information.  Growth rate is moderate.

Rhus virens (Evergreen sumac) and here are more information and photos.  Growth rate is moderate to moderately fast.

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) and here is more information.  Growth rate is slow.

You might consider using a combination of several of these to make a more interesting looking hedge.

You can search for other possibilities in both Texas-Central Recommended and Texas-South Recommended lists since Bexar County is almost on the border of the two regions. Use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to limit the results to size and general appearance.  Once you have used the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option you can also search by "deciduous", "semi-evergreen" or "evergreen."

 

From the Image Gallery


Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Agarita
Mahonia trifoliolata

Texas lignum-vitae
Guaiacum angustifolium

Desert yaupon
Schaefferia cuneifolia

Evergreen sumac
Rhus virens

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

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