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

Problems with non-native Canary Date Palms from Miami FL
December 06, 2011 - Hi: The fronts of my canary date palm, which I planted about 6 years ago, has been getting brown from the bottom of the tree and working itself towards the top for the past several months now. The b...
view the full question and answer

Distressed Red Oak tree in Pflugerville, TX.
July 22, 2012 - I have a large (40 ft) Red Oak tree in my yard that is distressed. It started with yellowing leaves, with darker veins. Then small brown spots appeared, followed by browning arount the leaves edges. N...
view the full question and answer

Plants wilting too quickly in Toledo OH
May 27, 2012 - The garden I have had recent issues with plants wilting all too quickly. I would like to know what types of plants would be hearty for the climate in Toledo, Ohio. I have a partly sunny front yard and...
view the full question and answer

Oak Bark Loss in Arlington, TX
May 04, 2013 - I have multiple oak trees in my yard (in north texas) that have begun to lose their bark in small chunks. I'm in the middle of the city so their are no deer and yes it's been a dry 2 years but this...
view the full question and answer

Problems with new transplant non-native weeping willow from Washington DC
September 10, 2012 - I replanted a very young BABY weeping willow tree and now it looks as if the leaves are drying up like it is dying. I know that it could also be in shock from the new transplant or it can be dying ...
view the full question and answer

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