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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - August 26, 2009

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Need shrubs to form a barrier fence to exclude large dogs in Huntsvile, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I'm seeking shrubs to form a barrier fence to strongly discourage free-roaming large dogs from entering a property in Huntsville, Texas. The site is currently just a grass yard basking in full sun, getting at least 6 hours a day. We need something fast growing, sun loving, dense, thorny and, of course, native to East Texas. Some ornamental value would be a nice bonus, but deterrence is paramount.

ANSWER:

Since your problem with free-range dogs seems pretty immediate, a quicker soluton might be to install a fence. However, if you are willing to wait several years, Mr. Smarty Plants can suggest some native plants that could eventually offer some deterence.

A plant that has a history of use as a hedge row plant is Maclura pomifera (osage orange), also known as Bois d'arc or horse apple. This thorny plant's use as a plant barrier in the open plains preceeded the invention of barbed wire, and its trunks were later used as fence posts to hold the wire. It can grow into a 20-40' tree, but with pruning can be trained to be a hedge. However, this may be more plant than you want. (more information)

A thorny, thicket forming tree/shrub (15-30 ft) with white flowers and edible red fruit is the Chickasaw Plum Prunus angustifolia (Chickasaw plum). It is a deciduous multi-stemmed shrub or small tree that can occur in thickets and fence rows. Although the plums may be eaten raw, they are somewhat tart and acidic, and are perhaps best used in preserves and jellies. (more information)

A final suggestion is that you contact the folks at Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Harris county for some help closer to home. 


Maclura pomifera

Maclura pomifera

Prunus angustifolia

Prunus angustifolia

 


 

More Shrubs Questions

Care for California lilacs from Portland OR
January 16, 2014 - Hi There, We live in the Portland Oregon area, so temps are moderate and winters are wet. We have several California Lilacs that are about 7ft in height and have created the perfect screen. Love th...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Sago Palm from Bulverde TX
June 12, 2012 - My husband's job has taken him out of state and he left me in charge of his 27 year old sago palms, (house plants, sort of bonsai). They waited until he left and then quite perversely sprouted 3 foo...
view the full question and answer

Identity of shrub with brownish flowers called cinnamon bush
April 25, 2012 - When I lived in Vernon, CT, my neighbor had a small shrub/tree approximately 5 ft tall with small ovate slightly serrated leaves. In spring it produced reddish brown flowers that were of a hardened p...
view the full question and answer

Tx Mt. Laurel and Mex. Buckeye seed propagation in drought
July 01, 2011 - I live in the Hill Country near New Braunfels. Since I am only at my house in July and August, I would like to plant both Texas Mountain Laurel and Mexican Buckeye from the seeds harvested from mothe...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrub for Austin TX
February 28, 2015 - I am wanting an evergreen shrub 6-8 ft tall to use as a screen in our backyard. Do you have any suggestions?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center