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

Sunday - June 24, 2012

From: Boones Mill, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shade Tolerant
Title: Evergreens for privacy in VA
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I need fast growing evergreens or large shrubs, flowering or non-flowering, for privacy. They will need to flourish among large oak and hickory trees that are 75 plus years old. We don't want to damage established tree root systems, which may or may not be a problem. There is little to no direct sun due to the trees. We live in Roanoke, Virginia.

ANSWER:

I imagine that you already suspect that your situation is difficult and your choices limited.

As a matter of fact, when you consider all the variables, the only evergreen that will grow in dry shade to a height of more than six feet and is native to your area is Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon).  If you are willing to give the plants supplemental water you can add Ilex glabra (Inkberry) and Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) to the list.  They are all plants that are commonly used for screening and could do the job for you.  It is unlikely that they will grow quickly, though, as life is not easy in the soil between the roots of 75 year old trees.

It is impossible for us to make a recommendation about a situation we cannot actually see, but you may need to look at alternative ways to create the privacy you need.  A landscape designer may have suggestions of how to combine sections of fence and plant groupings in strategic locations to avoid planting directly below those grand old trees.

 

From the Image Gallery


Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Inkberry
Ilex glabra

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Shrubs and other plants for shady area in Austin
March 22, 2010 - I am looking for what kind of shrubs, plants that I can plant under my very shady oak trees in South Austin. Soil is good, I want to have some lushness under my trees instead of dirt, I have a small a...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control for shady slope in Kentucky backyard
August 28, 2013 - I live in northern Kentucky (near Cincinnati). I have an area in my backyard that has slope. It is next to an ash tree and is very shady. Water erosion has washed away the top soil and pretty much no...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade in New Jersey
September 21, 2008 - hi ,i live in rahway nj and i was wondering what are good plant and shrubs to plant for this area. we are doing all new landscaping and we have alot of shade areas. we like the ornamental grasses but ...
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistant Plants for Dry Shade in Manor, Texas
January 14, 2011 - What deer resistant blooming plants will do well under a huge oak tree?
view the full question and answer

Where to find Horseherb seed
August 02, 2015 - I would like to purchase some Horseherb seeds. Can you tell me where I can do that? Either locally or on line. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

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