Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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

Thursday - April 11, 2013

From: Kenosha, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Replacement evergreens under power line in Wisconsin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have to replace evergreen trees in a privacy screen due to borer damage. The screen is below power lines so the replacements cannot be tall. I would like use bird and pollinator friendly replacements that are evergreens. I am in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The soil is good with no drainage issues. Thank you

ANSWER:

MGE (Madison Gas & Electric) has a brochure, Power Planting—How to Select and Plant Trees Near Power Lines, with guidelines for planting trees near and under power lines.  The brochure gives recommendations for various trees; but you should be aware that many of their recomendations are NOT native plants.  However, under their "Evergreens", they have recommendations for two Wisconsin native trees with information about several smaller cultivars for each.

MGE also has a Tree Choice and Care page where you can search for trees native to Wisconsin that are evergreen.  On the "Advanced Search" page I selected Tree Names and Cultivars, Evergreen, and Native to WI.  For the other choices I left it at "Any" except for Sun where I selected "Full Sun, Partial Shade and Shade" and Plant Type, "Trees and Shrubs".  Here are the other trees, in addtion to Eastern red cedar and arborvitae, that resulted from the search:

You can do a similar search in our Native Plant Database using COMBINATION SEARCH and choosing "Wisconsin" from Select State or Province, "Tree" from Habit (general appearance) and "Evergreen" from Leaf Characteristics.  This will give you several other choices that are either very large, slow-growing trees with few (or no) dwarf varieites available and one—Juniperus communis (Common juniper)—low-growing variety.  There is also one tree that is not a Gymnosperm, Maclura pomifera (Osage orange).  It now grows in southern Wisconsin but probably originated in Arkansas and/or Texas and is not really a good candidate for your screening hedge.

All the trees suggested above are Gymosperms and, as such, are non-flowering plants that are typically wind pollinated.   Birds, however, are attracted to them for their cones for food and for shelter in their branches.  Eastern hemlock also is described as attracting butterflies and moths.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Arborvitae
Thuja occidentalis

Eastern hemlock
Tsuga canadensis

Eastern white pine
Pinus strobus

More Trees Questions

Smarty Plants on Ebenopsis
July 01, 2005 - Why is the Texas Ebony, genus Pithecolobium, not in your database? Is it not a native? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Replacement trees for southwest facing backyard in Austin, TX.
September 23, 2010 - The back of the house we are purchasing faces southwest and is completely devoid of large shade trees. I have been told that the previously existing trees were destroyed by oak wilt. I am in love wi...
view the full question and answer

Protecting a non-native Meyer Lemon from Freezing in Austin
January 05, 2013 - What is the best way to protect my Meyer Lemon tree from freezing Austin weather? It has been planted in my yard for 1 year and is about 4 feet high
view the full question and answer

Central branches on Texas Ash have died
June 09, 2015 - I have a Texas Ash tree that was planted about 4 years ago. It seemed fine last summer and was well watered. This spring, when it started leafing out, the central branches at the upper part of the tre...
view the full question and answer

What kind of native Junipers will grow in zone 7?
June 25, 2009 - What kinds of native Juniper will grow in zone 7 ? (besides Juniperus scopulorum and J.virginiana).
view the full question and answer

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