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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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Sunday - April 01, 2012

From: Bartlesville, OK
Region: Select Region
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Privacy Screening
Title: Plant for privacy hedge in Oklahoma that is not poisonous to dogs
Answered by: Anne Ruggles

QUESTION:

Hello! I am looking to put a privacy hedge fence in my yard. I love the look of American Holly, however, I have a dog who eats everything so I worry that this will not be a wise choice with the berries. What is a thick, tall shrub (minimum 8 ft) that I could plant that would be safe for my dog? I live in northern Oklahoma. Bartlesville Thank you for all of your help!

ANSWER:

You have a number of native shrubs to choose from (or you could even think about a mix of species). A good place to start is on the Wildflower Center website. This page lists plants and that are native to Oklahoma. You can narrow the species presented by using the form on the right side of the page.

This past question to Mr. Smarty Plants from a resident of Muskogee asked a similar question to yours. The answer is worth exploring. It includes suggestions and a number of web sites that will help determine what plants are poisonous.

This question to Mr. Smarty Plants has an even more extensive list of sites that will help determine what plants you should avoid.

The following shrubs are only a few that appear to meet your requirements.

Roughleaf Dogwood  (Cornus drummondii)   Roughleaf dogwood grows naturally as a hedge in the majority of Oklahoma counties. Its leaves are rough on the top and woolly below. The white flowers and fruit appear in open clusters. It is highly resistant to harsh climatic conditions. For forming hedges, the plants are allowed to grow in clumps to form thickets. The surplus shoots are pruned to create a neater, consistent, hedge-like shape.

 

Pinchot Juniper  (Juniperus pinchotii)  Pinchot juniper can take the form of a shrub in Oklahoma. It is an attractive evergreen used for ground cover, is useful for preventing erosion. Pinchot juniper features multiple stems emerging from its root system.

 

Yaupon Holly  (Ilex vomitoria)   Don't let the species name alarm you! Yaupon holly is an evergreen that in its shrub form makes a fine hedge or privacy screen. It has leathery leaves and will grow in sun or shade, but those developed on sunny sites tend to be much more compact.  The vomitoria part of the scientific name refers to American Indians who used the leaves to prepare a tea, which they drank in large quantities ceremonially and then vomited back up, lending the plant its species name, vomitoria. The vomiting was self-induced; the plant doesn’t actually cause vomiting. 

 

Deciduous Holly (Ilex decidua)  Deciduous holly or possumhaw, is a shrub that flourishes in Oklahoma and that unlike other members of the Ilex species is not an evergreen. Deciduous holly bushes may be male or female. Females plants bear an abundance of bright red berries throughout the winter which are eaten by birds and mammals.

 

Southern Wax Myrtle  (Morella cerifera)

Oklahoma State University's Horticulture Department recommends southern wax myrtle or southern bayberry. It is a large evergreen shrub bearing narrow inch-long green leaves that emit a fragrant aroma when crushed. This species grows in full sun to partial shade and is tolerant of salty conditions.

 

From the Image Gallery


Roughleaf dogwood
Cornus drummondii

Roughleaf dogwood
Cornus drummondii

Pinchot's juniper
Juniperus pinchotii

Pinchot's juniper
Juniperus pinchotii

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

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