Need Screening? Planting Shrubs Makes Good Neighbors

Shrubs make great additions to any landscape. In the Austin area many new homes in subdivisions have lovely landscapes, but little or no privacy. Everybody likes a little screening, even neighbors on the best or terms need their privacy. A fence is not the only option for privacy, screening shrubs offer privacy between lots and add beauty to your landscape and are natural and easy way to provide screens and privacy.

Recommendations for the Austin Area:

Here are a few great evergreen screening shrubs that provide year round privacy and are well suited for the landscape here in the Austin area.

  • Leyland Cypress (Cupressus leylandii) – The Leyland Cypress is a fast growing evergreen conifer which grows in a conical form.   The Leyland is statement shrub reaching heights of 12 to 20 feet tall and can be hedged.
  • Pineapple Guava (Feijoa)   – The Pineapple Guava is a fast growing evergreen shrub that can be trimmed/trained as a single trunk tree form, a multi trunk tree form or can be grown as a shrub, full to the ground, for ultimate screening top to bottom.  The Pineapple Guava has a showy bloom that is simply stunning along with beautiful silver and green leaves.  They can reach 10’ x 10’ fairly quickly and easily with proper care.
  • Wax Myrtle (Myrcia cerifera) – The Wax Myrtle is a fast growing evergreen shrub native to the Austin area. The Wax Myrtle can reach 12 to 15 feet tall and may be sheared into a hedge, multi trunk shrub, or small tree.
  • Sweet Viburnum (Viburnum odoratissimum) – The Sweet Viburnum have glossy green evergreen foliage.   In the spring, they will have subtle white blossoms adding beauty and privacy to your landscape. It can reach 10 to 12 feet and can be hedged.
  • Cherry Laurel (Prunus caroliniana) – This native shrub is a favorite among homeowners.   The Cherry Laurels have a nice glossy leaf and are considered by many to have a more formal look.  The Cherry Laurel can be grown as a shrub or small tree and can reach 15 to 25 feet.
  • Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) – The Loquat is a fast growing evergreen with large foliage and sweet edible fruit in the summer.  The Loquats  are frequently grown in standard form/ single trunk tree, but can also be left to grow as a shrub (low branching or full to the ground).  The Loquats can reach 10 to 15 feet.

It is important to maintain proper irrigation as shrubs need a lot of water to get established. You should water your new shrubs each day to develop strong healthy roots.  Watering intervals will vary depending on weather, climate and sun exposure.

Planting the Shrubs

Dig the hole for the new plant with enough room to add new soil.   In Austin this can be challenging, so try to dig a large enough space to not only be able to plant the new plant, but allow enough space for new soil   Use a good landscaping soil to give the plant good fresh new soil to encourage new growth.  Firmly pack the soil; be careful not to make it rock solid, as it needs to let in air and water in. Cover the new planting with a few inches of mulch to retain moisture and protect the roots.  Be careful not to pack the mulch up around the base of the plant.

The size of the plant/shrub will determine how often and how much you will need to water- at first water daily to establish growth and back off as the shrub begins to establish.  Larger shrubs will need more water at first to establish.  With proper care your new shrubs will grow fast and give coverage and privacy.

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