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
1 rating

Saturday - June 12, 2010

From: Stockbridge , MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Thorny shrub to use as a barrier in Michigan
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What shrub/bush/tree would you recommend that grows fast, very thorny to act as a very strong deterrent/barrier that gets at least 4' tall? It would be in an open yet removed area from foot traffic in full sun in good dirt, not clay or sand. Can grow at will, so trimming and space are non-issues. Flowering would be a nice benefit.

ANSWER:

The following native Michigan shrubs are armed with spines or thorns:

Crataegus phaenopyrum (Washington hawthorn) has a rapid growth rate when young, but slows as it ages, according to the US Forest Service.

Zanthoxylum americanum (common pricklyash) is fast-growing. Here is more information and a photo.

Shepherdia argentea (silver buffaloberry) has a rapid growth rate.

Rosa carolina (Carolina rose) has a moderate growth rate.

Rosa palustris (swamp rose) has a moderate growth rate.

Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus (grayleaf red raspberry) has a moderate growth rate.

Also, nearly all species of Rubus (blackberries, raspberries, dewberries, etc.) with the exception of the thimbleberries (Rubus odoratus (purpleflowering raspberry) and Rubus parviflorus (thimbleberry)) have thorns.  To see the other ones that are native to Michigan, use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option and select Michigan from the SELECT STATE OR PROVINCE category on the Rubus sp. page.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Crataegus phaenopyrum

Shepherdia argentea

Rosa carolina

Rosa palustris

Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus

 

 

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Webworm on Texas Mountain Laurel in Texas
September 02, 2015 - I thought my mountain laurel had web worms and I sprayed for them. Now the plant looks like it still has the worms even though none are present. Also, I sprayed with a fungicide because some of the ...
view the full question and answer

Stopping erosion on bank of a Florida retention pond
July 21, 2015 - I live on a retention pond, which has had all vegetation killed by the lake doctor. As a result the bank has eroded so there is a drop off directly to the water rather than a sloping bank. What plan...
view the full question and answer

Identification of thorny shrub with blue berries
May 24, 2011 - Thorny shrub with blue berries. In our acid sandy loam we have many thorn bushes. This one has small leaves like a wild pomegranate, long thorns. berries of the size and color of blueberries and is ...
view the full question and answer

Tree with stilt roots for Louisiana bog garden
February 07, 2013 - Does Louisiana have any native trees with stilt roots? I would like one to go with my cypress and tupelo bog garden. I have several native plants such as spider lilies and blue flag irises, but I'm...
view the full question and answer

Is the fruit of American Beautyberry (French Mulberry) edible?
March 22, 2012 - I am trying to find out if the "American Beautyberry" or "French Mulberry" fruit is edible? Can you tell me? Your website's information about this plant has been the most informative informatio...
view the full question and answer

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