En Español

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

Small shrub for Point Richmond CA
August 19, 2013 - I'm looking for a plant that grows 4-6 feet tall, but not too wide (more than 2-3 feet). I'd like it to be flowering (any color but white and preferably not red). It will be located between a salvi...
view the full question and answer

Garden instructions from Austin
June 12, 2013 - I'm a beginning gardener putting in some new landscaping in my front yard in north central Austin, TX. The yard faces almost due east, so it gets full sun until early afternoon, when the house's sha...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for New Hampshire
June 25, 2009 - Will be landscaping next Spring: Do you think using 'Ilex Crenata'-Japanese Holly together with variegated Euonymus (species: fortunei) as shrub hedges in front of our house is a good combo? Do they...
view the full question and answer

Plants for clay soil in Leavenworth IN
October 02, 2009 - I live in south central Indiana; the soil is very bad clay, either hard as a rock or mud. I have made several raised beds but am still having problems with plants rotting. What types of plants work he...
view the full question and answer

How to Control Poison Ivy
February 22, 2016 - We have lots of Poison Ivy on a site we are clearing it is adjacent to a pond and children are around this area all the time. We are creating hiking paths. I have a lot of experience but I do not wan...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center