Small Trees for Privacy in Central Texas

Willow74April 24, 2014

I want to plant a life privacy fence that is over 6ft tall and 20ft wide. My house in at bottom of the hill on a cul-de-sac and I can see people and cars passing by from my back yard. I do have a privacy fence that is 6ft tall. I want a plant that is dense, grow fast and evergreen. The plants will receive full sun most of the day. I am looking at big bushes or small trees like Pride of Houston Yaupon Holly, Wax Myrtle, Little Gem Magnolia, and Texas Mountain Laurel. I went to Lowes yesterday and I found 4ft tall one trunk Texas Mountain Laurels in a tree-form for $75.00; 1ft tall multiple trunks Wax Myrtles for $16.98; 6ft tall Little Gem Magnolia for $149; and 4ft tall Pride of Houston Yaupon Holly for $80. The Wax Myrtle looked like a Wax Myrtle, but with lighter leaves and did not have the smell of a Wax Myrtle.

I like the idea of planting Wax Myrtles; but I am worry that the ones that Lowes carries are not Wax Myrtles; are only 1ft tall; got black spots on the leaves; and it will take a while to grow. Do Wax Myrtle needs to be certain height before the leaves start smelling? Does anybody have experience with Wax Myrtle? How fast they grow? I have attached pictures of the Wax Myrtle from Lowes

I like Texas Mountain Laurels, they are slow growers; but Lowes has 4ft tall trees. How fast do they grow?

Little Gem Magnolias are beautiful, but I will need about 4 plants to fill the space, and no sure if the trees are good for life privacy above 6ft fence. At $149 a pot that is almost $600, and my husband does not want to dig 4 big holes.

For the Pride of Houton Youpon Holly, I will have to wait until the fall to buy them; because I want to make sure I get the female Hollies. Do this type of hollies grow fast?

What would be a good small tree to plant for upper privacy? Please help!

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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

The leaves on the plant pictured do not look like the leaves of my Wax myrtle. I purchased a 4 1/2 ft Wax myrtle at a San Antonio nursery, Rainbow Gardens, for $42.00. The leaves are fragrant.

I don't have a lot of experience yet with Wax myrtle, but being evergreen and said to be fast growing it seems like an excellent choice to me -- obviously, since I planted one to block a view.

I read that a female tree produces berries that birds like, but you have to have a male nearby to polinate. Buying several hopefully you will get both genders. I couldn't tell which mine is.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 2:11PM
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How about photinias, in particular the red-tip variety? You can plant as many as you like to reach the 20 ft wide, and it should be a little over 6ft tall.

I'm not sure how fast they are to grow but once they are filled in, it's quite a dense mat of leaves and limbs, though you mostly see the leaves only.

Pittosporum bushes are good too.

Yaupon hollies grow slowly in my opinion, but as long as you don't prune heavily for a few years, you can get quite a dense growth also. But a heavy prune would remove all that growth because there tends to be a dense growth of branches coming off a main branch. Remove that main branch and you may have a hole or very thin-looking bush.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 2:12PM
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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

Mexican silktassel (Garrya ovata ssp. lindheimeri) and evergreen sumac (Rhus virens) were two evergreens on the central Texas plant guide that we considered a few years ago for that sort of spot. Though couldn't find a source in DFW, so went with the slower growing, but available, Texas mountain laurel. We're at or beyond their hardiness ranges, so may be a better chance they're carried at nurseries in your part of the state.

Here is a link that might be useful: Central Texas plantguide.pdf

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 4:03PM
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I have several Pride of Houstons. They are very slow growers, and have never been as attractive as, from gazing upon photographs, I had expected. According to the Magnolia Gardens plant catalog, the wax myrtle can attain a width of 15'. Seems a bit much, for a privacy screen. There is a dwarf variety, but it doesn't get very tall. I'll second the photinia recommendation. I set out another one this fall, in the 3 gal. size, to fill in a blank space. It now measures 52" tall. I may have paid $13.00 for it. I have yet to see one of these affected by the dread fungal disorders to which they are said to be so prone. For what it's worth, they have now been accused, along with waxleafs and holly ferns, of being "invasive."

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 5:21PM
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Lynn Marie

I like photinias, but not a lot of people do. And I've seen a LOT of them with the fungal problem, but it doesn't seem to bother them. It's just ugly. They would serve your purpose perfectly. I have a Texas Mountain Laurel and it is a VERY slow grower! You'd have to buy a HUGE one to get the job done. That would be super expensive.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 6:09PM
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I've seen photinia that look diseased, but always when they are exposed to direct, all-day sun. They just can't hold up to that, without some supplemental irrigation. I haven't had that problem, because mine get a fair amount of shade. Sandankwa viburnum might be an option, but it would also require some irrigation, if exposed to full sun.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 6:56PM
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Thank you for the responses. After reading roselee z8 post, I went to a local nursery and found 2ft Wax Myrtles. I got two of them as they came out off the delivery truck for $24.95 each. I went to Lowes and found 2ft red tips photinias for $13.98 each, I got two of them. Thank you very much for helping me pick the right trees for the space.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 8:32PM
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