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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - March 10, 2010

From: Bergheim, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Plant barrier along fence in South Central Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I want to put in an attractive, diverse but tough plant barrier to help stop my dogs from running the fence with neighboring dogs. The 5-foot, open-wire fence is far from the house, so the plants need to survive without additional water once established. I'm seeking tough natives for south-central Texas that grow in dry, limestone soil with 4-12 hours of sun per day that the deer will not overbrowse once they are established. (I've learned to fence all new plants!) Spines are fine, flowers are a plus, fragrance is wonderful, usefulness to wildlife is desired. I'd like a mix of vines, shrubs and trees. I have already established Agave americana, sotol and Texas mountain laurel. Other suggestions would be much appreciated. Gracias!

ANSWER:

You've made a great start!   Here are some suggestion for native small trees, shrubs and vines that grow in Kendall County or adjacent counties:

SHRUBS AND SMALL TREES:

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) with lots of spiny evergreen leaves, fragrant flowers and berries for wildlife (and people).

Ehretia anacua (knockaway) with fragrant flowers and fruit for wildlife.

Schaefferia cuneifolia (desert yaupon) is evergreen, somewhat spiny, and with berries for wildlife.  Here is more information.

Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon) has fruit that wildlife like.  It is also edible for humans, but rather bland-tasting.

Acacia angustissima (prairie acacia) is low-growing, the flowers attract butterflies and wildlife eats the seeds.

Acacia farnesiana (sweet acacia) is spiny and grows to 20 feet with fragrant flowers.

Leucaena retusa (goldenball leadtree) grows to 25 feet with spectacular sweet-smelling golden flowers.

Parkinsonia aculeata (Jerusalem thorn) grows to 30 feet with thorns and yellow flowers.

Yucca treculeana (Spanish dagger) grows up to 10 feet with sharp spines on tips of leaves and spectacular flowers in spring.

Condalia hookeri (Brazilian bluewood) is a spiny shrub or small tree with edible fruit.

Zanthoxylum hirsutum (Texas Hercules' club) is a thorny shrub with aromatic leaves when crushed.

Leucophyllum frutescens (cenizo) is evergreen and flowers throughout the year.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) with showy purple fruits for birds and wildlife.

VINES

Ampelopsis cordata (heartleaf peppervine) with fruit for birds and other wildlife.

Clematis drummondii (Drummond's clematis) with attractive feathery plumes on ripe seeds.

Clematis texensis (scarlet leather flower) with red showy flowers.

Ibervillea lindheimeri (Lindheimer's globeberry) with large red fruits for the birds.

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle) is evergreen with red flowers that attract hummingbirds but have little scent.

Passiflora affinis (bracted passionflower) attracts butterflies.

Vitis mustangensis (mustang grape) with fruits for birds and other wildlife.

You can find still more suggestions on our Texas-Central Recommended page.

Here are photos of some of the plants above from our Image Gallery:


Mahonia trifoliolata

Diospyros texana

Acacia farnesiana

Leucaena retusa

Yucca treculeana

Leucophyllum frutescens

Ibervillea lindheimeri

Lonicera sempervirens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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