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 - July 28, 2013

From: Dobbins, CA
Region: California
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Privacy Screening, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Shrub to scrren house from dust from gravel road
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

HI: We live in the foothills of Dobbins, California (2 hours North of Sacramento, Ca). I live on a gravel dirt road with traffic that goes about 45 miles an hour. When they drive by our house it looks like something is on fire the dust is so thick. What can I plant to help catch and block the dust. We have dogs, chickens, and a free-range goat so I didn't want to plant an oleander but that's the size Im hoping whatever I plant will get. Thanks...

ANSWER:

Below are three evergreen shrubs/small trees that grow in Yuba County, California or in an adjacent county.  Any one of these should work well as a screen between your house and the dusty road.  Please check our National Suppliers Directory for nurseries that specialize in native plants in your area.

Calocedrus decurrens (Incense cedar) is a dense evergreen tree that can be used as an effective hedge.  Here are photos and more information from Las Pilitas Nursery in Escondido and Santa Margarita, California and Missouri Botanical Garden.

Adenostoma fasciculatum (Chamise) is an evergreen shrub that can grow to 10 feet and makes an excellent screening plant.   Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery and Plants for a Future.

Cercocarpus ledifolius (Curl-leaf mountain mahogany) is evergreen and grows to 15 feet.  Here is more information from Southwest Colorado Wildflowers and from Las Pilitas Nursery.

 California Poison Control System list of Non-Toxic and Toxic Plants "Know Your Plants!" shows Calocedrus decurrens (Incense cedar) listed as being a dermal irritant—"Skin contact with these plants can cause symptoms ranging from redness, itching, and rash to painful blisters like skin burns."  None of the other plants are on the California Poison Control System list.

 

More Trees Questions

Desert willows not doing well in Navarro County, TX
May 16, 2009 - Planted 3 new desert willows , 3-4 ft.in February. Live in East Navarro County and soil is clay with slight slope to Richland Chambers lake area. Had a wet spring. These plantings appear not doing we...
view the full question and answer

White fuzz on Christmas tree from Lewisburg PA
January 04, 2011 - Our Canaan fir Christmas tree is now coated with white fuzz after being up for 4 weeks. The fuzz looks like spider webs, but it is also in clumps around the needles. When you rub your finger on it, ...
view the full question and answer

Plant barrier along fence in South Central Texas
March 10, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I want to put in an attractive, diverse but tough plant barrier to help stop my dogs from running the fence with neighboring dogs. The 5-foot, open-wire fence is far from the...
view the full question and answer

Plants for 100 gal. pot by pool from Ft. Worth TX
June 23, 2012 - What North Texas evergreen or combination of evergreen plants, bushes or trees could thrive in a huge, 100-gallon clay pot (immovable!) that is situated in full sun year round in an exposed area n...
view the full question and answer

What can be planted under a pine tree in Detroit, MI?
April 22, 2008 - What type of plant would you suggest I plant under my big (Blue bruce) pine tree? It's about 25 ft high and the branches are trimmed to about 4 feet up, so it does get some light but mostly shade.I a...
view the full question and answer

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