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

Want to identify a shrub with golden to orangish berries in Minneapolis MN.
July 14, 2009 - Tall shrub or maybe tree with small berries golden to orangish color. The berries are not in large clumps but more twos and threes. Leaves are opposite each other, smooth edges and sort of elliptica...
view the full question and answer

Small drought-resistant shrub for northeast Texas
June 23, 2009 - I am replacing the formal hedge of hollies along the front of my house and was planning to use mostly Inidan Hawthornes, but now I'm reading that they are very prone to disease, are there any low gro...
view the full question and answer

Erosion controlling plants for a shady Minnesota lakeside
August 11, 2015 - I live about 50 yards from a lake and there is a steep embankment. Recently someone decided to cut the trees off the embankment and now the dirt is eroding off the embankment as well as off my back ya...
view the full question and answer

Windbreak [Dustbreak] for Shelton, WA
May 31, 2013 - I live on a well traveled, dusty, gravel road in the Pacific North West and would like to plant a barrier to help control the dust.
view the full question and answer

Removal of previously-planted perennials
July 23, 2008 - HI I JUST MOVED INTO A NEW HOUSE THIS YEAR THE PREVIOUS OWNERS PLANTED A LOT OF BEAUTIFUL PERENNIALS BUT I WANTED TO PLANT OVER ONE OF THE PERENNIALS THAT I REALLY DO NOT CARE FOR. IS THAT POSSIBLE? I...
view the full question and answer

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