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

Wednesday - August 08, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Trees for privacy screen
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, We'd like to plant a privacy screen to hide our view of an adjacent apartment complex. Ideally the trees or other plantings might be a native species, and preferably they would eventually reach a min. of 15' hgt and preferably grow closer to 30-40' hgt. Our soil is the Blacklands Prairie / Austin Eddy Association type - pretty clayey underneath a thin, loose top layer of soil. We'd previously tried a pair of ashe junipers there but they did not fare well and died within a year. Any help would be much appreciated!!!

ANSWER:

My guess is that you would prefer to have an evergreen.   It is too bad that the Juniperus ashei (Ashe juniper) did not work out.  I am wondering when you planted them and if you bought them from a nursery.   Ashe junipers do not do well if you try transplanting them from the wild.  Nursery stock will do the best and they will also do better if you plant them in the fall when it is cooler so that they have time to establish themselves before they have to deal with extremely hot weather.   The other juniper that does well in this area is Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar) and it may be more readily available in nurseries.  Both junipers can grow to 30 feet and the Eastern red cedar will sometimes grow higher.  Another possibility is Prunus caroliniana (Cherry laurel).  It is an attractive tree that can grow to more than 30 feet with shiny dark green leaves.  Here are more photos and information for the cherry laurel from OnlinePlantGuide.com.  You can visit our National Suppliers Directory to find nurseries that specialize in native plants in your area that have these trees for sale.

 

From the Image Gallery


Ashe juniper
Juniperus ashei

Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Carolina cherry-laurel
Prunus caroliniana

More Trees Questions

Surface tree roots hurting grass in Houston
March 21, 2013 - We have 2 mature Arizona Ash trees in our yard (30-40'). One of them is in a sunnier location and has developed an extensive network of surface roots (up to 1 to 1 1/2" Dia.) between the tree and th...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen Trees for Low Maintenance Screen
April 18, 2015 - We live in Pacifica, CA and are looking to plant a row of low maintenance trees in our back yard along our fence, that grow to be a maximum of 15' high, that stay green year round. What do you recomm...
view the full question and answer

Controlling native chickasaw plum
July 23, 2008 - How do we kill the chickasaw plum? We have an abundance and want to get rid of them.
view the full question and answer

Cottage-style landscaping for Chesapeake VA
August 02, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plant staff, I recently moved into a cottage style home that has a poured concrete/paver patio. I am trying to come up with ideas for plantings that would 1. give me a bit of privacy,...
view the full question and answer

Live oaks lifting up sidewalks in Palm Coast FL
December 12, 2013 - My live oak trees roots are lifting up my side walks. Can I cut just the roots that are causing the problem without hurting the trees? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

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