Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Planting non-native sago palm and philodendron from Pflugerville TX
September 15, 2012 - I have a small/young sago palm and philodendron I'd like to plant. Do you advise to plant them now with fall/winter approaching or wait until next spring.
view the full question and answer

Lack of Fruit on Forestiera
March 17, 2013 - I have not been able to get berry production on my elbow bush. I have male and female plants. Is it possible to help with the pollination process? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Berries on cultivars of Ilex verticillata from Oak Park, IL
February 19, 2014 - I have three ilex verticillata cultivars (2 Nana, 1 Jim Dandy) planted on the west side of my house in a very shady site (there's a mature over-spreading hackberry on the parkway just to the west and...
view the full question and answer

Windbreaks for Monterey County, CA
May 31, 2013 - I am trying to find good wind breakers for Monterey County area, very windy in the valley.
view the full question and answer

Native deer-resistant plants for Virginia
September 26, 2012 - I live in Roanoke/Salem Virginia and want to plant a few plants native to the area along the front yard rock wall. I would prefer they be the same, deer resistant, around 5-6 feet tall max and flower...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.