En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Smarty Plants on bio-security

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 - June 11, 2005

From: Freeport, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Cacti and Succulents, Shrubs
Title: Smarty Plants on bio-security
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hello, My friend and I are summer interns at the Bryan Mound Strategic Petroleum Reserve Site in Freeport, Texas. Our jobs as the interns is to find a plant that is friendly to the animals around our site but that can also act as a barrier to people. We have security devices on the fence already but would like to add a sort of bio-security before the fences. We would greatly aprreciate if you could share some advice with us at to what plants would work best in our area. Thank you.

ANSWER:

Several plants come to mind.

One, Tasajillo, or Pencil Cactus (Opuntia leptocaulis) is a member of the Family Cactaceae (Cactus family). It is shrub-like and grows up to 5 feet high. In the winter it is filled with bright red berries, giving it another of its common names, Christmas cactus. Its many sharp spines and the fact that it tends to form inpenetrable thickets makes it a good deterrent against intruders.

Another plant, Agarita (Mahonia trifoliata) is a member of the Family Berberidaceae (Barberry Family). It is evergreen with holly-shaped leaves. These leaves have stiff spines on their three-pronged tips. It is shrub-like also and grows up to 8 feet tall. In the spring it has fragrant small yellow flowers that produce delicious red berries that are enjoyed by birds and other wildlife. It, too, can form thickets as a barrier.

There are two members of the Family Agavaceae (Century-Plant family) that would meet your criteria. They are Spanish dagger (Yucca treculeana) and Buckley yucca (Yucca constricta). Both have long leaves with sharp spines at the tips and both have attractive flowers that serve as hosts to various butterflies and moths.

You could possibly use all four of these plants in combination to form an attractive and effective barrier.

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Native trees for privacy screen in Central Texas
October 24, 2007 - I live in the hill country outside of Austin,TX in somewhat rocky terrain. I wanted to plant a tree for a privacy screen to hide a neighbor's house. I was considering a Leland cypress. What are yo...
view the full question and answer

Native evergreen trees or shrubs for privacy screen in South Carolina
April 02, 2008 - RE: Wednesday - April 02, 2008 From: Johnston, SC Region: Southeast Topic: Native Trees Title: Native evergreen trees or shrubs for privacy screen in South Carolina Author: Barbara Medford Qu...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants to form a privacy hedge in Charleston, WV.
April 05, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Pants, I live in zone 6 and an looking for an evergreen privacy type hedge that grows no taller than 10'-12'. I am not interested in any boxwood type of hedge. The evergreens would be ...
view the full question and answer

Native shrubs for wildlife and screening in Georgia
December 22, 2008 - I live in Bainbridge, GA. I have 3 acres and want to plant for wildlife. I would like to plant fast growing native shrubs along the 400' of road that will benefit wildlife and shield us from the tr...
view the full question and answer

Privacy and noise screen in Austin
January 17, 2009 - Mr. Smarty, I purchased a home and notice that my neighbors seem to hang outside their garage on the weekends and thus causing some noise. I need some major privacy from this neighbor and I was think...
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