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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.

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Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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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.

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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!

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Tuesday - May 01, 2012

From: River Vale, NJ
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Need suggestions for privacy hedge in Northern NJ.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Hi, I'm looking for advice on what plant would make an excellent privacy hedge in Northern NJ (Bergen County). Ideally something low maintenance, about 5 feet tall, would act as a fence. Thanks so much!

ANSWER:

One of our most frequently asked questions has to do with privacy screens, so we should have enough information to help you out.

First, let me show you how to use our Native Plant Database  which contains 7,223 species of native plants. Let's use the combination search which will allow you to explore the database to find the plants suitable for your situation. Start by scrolling down to the Combination Search Box and make the following selections: select New Jersey under State, shrub under Habit, and perennial under Duration. Check sun under Light requirement, and 6-12' under height. Click the Submit Combination Search Button, and you will have a list of 30 plant species that fit those criteria. Clicking on the Scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page that has a description of the plant’s characteristics, growth requirements and in most cases images. By varying the selections, you can get different lists of plants.

Next, I’m going to refer you to  some answers from  previous questions.
These may not fit your situation exactly, but they include some plants that might you might consider for your location.  All ofthe questions are from the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Virginia Beach, VA

Seymour, CT

Arlington, VA  

 

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July 22, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, We have lantanas in our front yard. This summer the leaves have turned white and they die to a brown color all the while the leaves are "crispy". At the beginning of the season...
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Shrub that will grow outside in Zone 5 from Millbrook NY
April 21, 2012 - Is there any shrub, tree or other sort of plant that will grow well in zone 5 in a very large container outdoors?
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Esperanza failing to bloom in Odessa TX
September 01, 2009 - I have 3 Esperanza plants that have not bloomed this spring/summer. I live in Odessa, TX. We had about 5 inches of rain in July in one week (very unusual), but they have not bloomed-before or after. ...
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Possibility of invasiveness of blackberry bush
March 27, 2008 - I bought a blackberry bush from Home Depot last year. My sister said if I planted it in the ground it would take over my lawn. So I put it in a big planter up against my fence, but I'd like to put it...
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Need recommendations for privacy screen in Richmond, VA
February 27, 2013 - Hello, I read through the previous posts on privacy screen plantings in the Mid Atlantic region. There was a lot of great information, but I has a specific question that was not answered. I would li...
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