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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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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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Friday - June 15, 2012

From: Las Vegas, NV
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Need a privacy screen beside a pool in Las Vegas, NV.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Hi, I need to plant a privacy screen fence next to the pool. There is only 4-5 feet between the wall and the pool. That leaves only about 2 feet for soil. What are my best options for non invasive root shrubs or small trees that grow up to 10-12 feet height. thank you,

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is having trouble visualizing the situation that you have. Is there already a wall around the pool?
 Lets deal with the tree first; most 10 - 12 ‘ trees are going to have a crown about the same diameter and a root system that is at least twice that size. That doesn’t sound like a good fit, so lets look at shrubs which will have less invasive root systems.

We’ll start by going to  our Native Plant Database and use the Combination Search option. Select Nevada under State, shrub under General Appearance, and perennial under Lifespan. Check  sun under Light Requirement, and dry under Soil Moisture. Click the Submit combination Search button and you get 49 native species that meet these criteria. Clicking on the scientific name of each species will bring up its NPIN page that contains the characteristics of the plant, its growth requirements and, in most cases, photos. As you go through the list, look for  plants that match your growing conditions. Be aware that you will probably need to prune the plants you select as they grow to keep them within the space that you have.

Here are a few possibilities
Rhus virens (Evergreen sumac) 

Ceanothus greggii (Desert ceanothus)

Purshia tridentata (Antelope bitterbrush)

For some help closer to home, you might contact the folks at the Clatk County office of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.
 

 

From the Image Gallery


Evergreen sumac
Rhus virens

Desert ceanothus
Ceanothus greggii

Antelope bitterbrush
Purshia tridentata

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