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
1 rating

Monday - September 02, 2013

From: Kirbyville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Privacy Screening, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Fast-growing trees for privacy in East Texas
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Fast growing tree seeds for my area to create a tree grove for privacy.

ANSWER:


To begin with, if you are interested in fast growth, I suggest that you buy well-rooted plants instead of seeds.  You can find them at most plant nurseries in your area, and they will give you a major jump start, since all trees grow relatively slowly. 

I’ll give you a short list of plants that might work for you.  Some are evergreen, others drop their leaves in winter.  Many of these plants are considered deer resistant, but deer are likely to still eat them when they are starving or when the plant is putting on new growth.  If you have a deer problem you may need to place a fence around each plant.

Check out these tree species on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center's Plant Database by clicking on their name. A mix of evergreen and deciduous trees might be best.

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) is evergreen, has pretty red berries and makes a good wildlife plant. It is a great plant to use in a hedge because it grows dense and twiggy.  But it grows slowly so you would have to be very patient.  You can usually only buy female plants. You need at least one male plant to have berries.
These are pretty trought tolerant after they get established but like a little more water than some others.
Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) is a fast growing solution.  It is among the few plants of the shrubs and trees I raised that never had deer damage.  It will grow into a large shrubs if you encourage it.  It is evergreen and requires male and female plants to make the fragrant berries. Once established, it is drought and flood tolerant.
Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)  is another plant deer have never eaten.  Even the smallest seedlings seem safe from the deer. And I like the grape koolaid fragrance of the blooms.  It prefers part sun but I’ve also seen it successfully grown in full sun. However it is quite slow growing and very expensive to buy large plants.
Leucaena retusa (Goldenball leadtree) is a gorgous evergreen tree  with blooms that look like fluffy yellow balls. It grows in sun or part shade – blooms April to October, but needs a rather dry rocky spot.  Deer will eat the leaves.
Hesperocyparis arizonica (Arizona cypress) is a beautiful, fast-growing evergreen that is used for windbreaks.  It grows 30-40 feet tall and 15 -20 feet wide.  Y
Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar)  This tree can be used as a screen.  In the formal garden at the Wildflower Center, one is kept sheared and has the shape of an Arizona cypress. And here is an article that tells you how to transplant it from the wild.  Just be sure you have permission from the landowner. Deer never seem to eat it.

Other trees/shrubs that should work for you include Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud), Cornus florida (Flowering dogwood), Ilex opaca (American holly), Rhus virens (Evergreen sumac), Ilex decidua (Possumhaw),and Chilopsis linearis (Desert willow)

Fall and winter are the best times to plant trees.  Here is an article with tips on tree planting.  Fill the planting holes with water a couple of times and let it drain out just before planting.  Water once a week (every week without rain) for the first spring and summer months after you plant and then water deeply at least once a month (or two weeks after a 1-2 inch  rain) for the first year.  The second year, I usually just look at the plants.  If they look a little droopy, I water deeply.  And if we don’t get rain for several weeks, I water as a matter of course.  And always water slowly and deeply.  I always build a little moat around the plantings so I can fill it with water which will soak down around the plant.  I like to use either a soaker hose, or an individual 5 gallon bucket for each tree or shrub.  Put a tiny hole in the bucket and set it next to the tree/shrub and fill.  You could water a few of your trees/shrubs each day with this method.  But a soaker hose along a line of plants works great as well. And be sure and mulch to conserve water and keep the roots cool. Just keep the mulch about 6 inches from the trunk.

Here are some images of the plants I recommended.  Good luck with your planting.



 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas redbud
Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Flowering dogwood
Cornus florida

American holly
Ilex opaca

Goldenball leadtree
Leucaena retusa

Evergreen sumac
Rhus virens

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

Arizona cypress
Hesperocyparis arizonica

Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

More Shrubs Questions

Why did the blossoms on my mountain laurels dry up before they flowered?
March 15, 2015 - Why did the blossoms on my mountain laurels dry up before they flowered?
view the full question and answer

Toxic trees and shrubs in Pennsylvania
September 30, 2008 - I have a long property edge that I have been gradually transforming from a former cattle pasture into a hedgerow of native trees and shrubs. Cattle still graze on the other side. Are there any toxic...
view the full question and answer

Location of Elbow Bush and Gregg's Saddlebush at the Wildflower Center
March 10, 2016 - I have twice looked for Forestiera pubescens (Elbow Plant) and Mortonia greggi (Gregg's Saddlebush) in your gardens and have been unable to find. I have looked on the trails as well. Would you be a...
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant privacy plants for Flagstaff AZ
March 19, 2013 - We need a fast growing drought tolerant tree that will grow in Flagstaff AZ/Parks AZ. Neighbors are hoarders and we want privacy fence to cover the mess. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
view the full question and answer

Trees and shrubs for Rockwall, TX
April 13, 2011 - Hi! I've been advised to contact you regarding my dilemma. Please rsvp asap. I'm ready to plant. 1)I have a small backyard with full, hot, Dallas sun and cold winters, many times below freezing. ...
view the full question and answer

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