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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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Monday - July 02, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Privacy Screening, Shade Tolerant, Shrubs, Vines
Title: A privacy hedge for a shady spot in Austin, TX
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

What is a good choice for a privacy hedge in west Austin in a predominantly shady area? I'd like it to be 8-12 feet, along the fence, so as to obstruct the view of the neighbor's yard.

ANSWER:

I can suggest several plant species suitable for your needs.  Unfortunately, most are relatively slow growing and expensive to purchase in larger sizes.  My picks would include:

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle), a little faster growing than most, flowers not showy, fruit good for birds.

Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo), gray green foliage, nice blooms if it gets enough sunlight.

Rhus virens (Evergreen sumac), slower growing than above species.

Mahonia trifoliolata (Agarita), does not normally reach 8 feet in height.  Yellow flowers in February.

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel), very slow growing until it reaches 3-4 feet in height.  Gorgeous flowers.

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon), perhaps the slowest growing, but may be the best all-round hedge when mature.

Check out the properties of each of these species on our web site.  If you are patient or prosperous enough to purchase large starter shrubs you will be richly rewarded with any of them.  If you are the impatient type, consider using a vine such as Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine),  Your  neighbor may be agreeable to planting this by the fence.  It will give privacy sooner than starting with small shrubs.

 

From the Image Gallery


Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Evergreen sumac
Rhus virens

Agarita
Mahonia trifoliolata

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

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