En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Saturday - July 26, 2008

From: Broxburn, England
Region: Other
Topic: Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Natural barrier for sheep in England
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi I am trying to find a plant that sheep will not eat to use as a natural barrier to keep sheep out of my R/C model flying clubs flying field.It will have to be a couple of feet tall and be a long lived plant.As you can probably tell I am not a gardener but I would like to use some kind of natural barrier to stop them invading and creating the mess they leave behind.

ANSWER:

We are flattered that you sent your e-mail across the Atlantic to ask for help from Austin, Texas. However, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, care for and propagation of plants native to North America. We have no list of native shrubs for your part of England in our Native Plant Database, and no knowledge of the weather, soil and amount of rain you might get. But, since you went to the effort, we will at least see if we can find something to suggest you do about the sheep. You understand, sheep are not an altogether popular subject in some parts of Texas, where ranchers felt the sheep ate the grass down so low the cattle couldn't get at it. So, once upon a time around here, doing something about the sheep usually involved shotguns. We don't recommend that.

We did some research and don't know much more than we did when we started. Are these your sheep, or is your model flying club field in someone else's sheep pasture? Apparently, even though they are ruminants and generally graze, they will also browse shrubs as they go. And unless we're thinking about "counting sheep", we believe that sheep can leap over a short bush barrier if they don't eat it. It would appear that you need to deny sheep to the area with some artificial barrier, which may include fencing or simply closing off an enclosed area in which the sheep can stay. If you lived around here, we would recommend Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita), a holly sometimes called the "babysitter plant" because farmers used to build fences out of it to keep the coyotes away from the lambs. It is one thick, thorny, mean bush, let us tell you. It is, however, basically a desert plant which likely would not survive long in England.

We really don't think plants are the answer to your problem, although we hate to say that. We feel you are going to have to consider some form of fencing or move your flying field out of range of the sheep.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Tecoma stans problems in Santa Monica CA
September 20, 2010 - I just purchased a mature 6ft tall potted Tecoma Stance Vine (Honeysuckle), It is placed in an area where it gets at least 3 to 4 hours morning/early afternoon sun and then a shaded sun for the rest o...
view the full question and answer

Problems getting desert western US plant Stanleya pinnata to bloom in England
March 13, 2006 - I am having trouble getting my Princes plume (Stanleya pinnata) to produce a flower and then go to seed. Do you have any advice on triggering flowering in this plant?
view the full question and answer

Disposal of non-native invasive Houttuynia cordata
August 08, 2007 - I am a homeower in The Woodlands with a very difficult problem in my butterfly garden. I have an impossibly invasive weed that I cannot get rid of -- so much so that I'm thinking of just paving ov...
view the full question and answer

Care of non-native house plant
October 20, 2007 - I have bought a 7 foot bird of paradise indoor plant, and have a decorative pot to place it into. The plant will remain in its plastic pot, will have a liner inside decorative pot, and decorative moss...
view the full question and answer

Problem with non-native peach tree in Willingboro NJ
September 02, 2009 - I have a peach tree in my back yard. The tree was in the yard when I bought the house. I have lived at my address almost six years. This year the peach tree is dripping a thick jelly-like sap from ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center