En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - August 30, 2006

From: Bronxville, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Replacement of barberry hedge with native, bird-friendly plants
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am looking to replace an existing barberry hedge with a deciduous hedge, using a plant that is native to the northeast. I am in zone 6. The site is sun/part sun with decent drainage. The mature size of the hedge must be no more than 8 ft tall and no more than 6 ft wide. Importantly, I want to use a plant that will provide berries for the birds. I thought of using cornus racemosa 'Geauge.' Any thoughts on that? Any other plant suggestions? Thanks. Kim

ANSWER:

Gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa) is certainly an appropriate tree for providing fruit for birds and other wildlife, but it is likely to get taller than you want. It's maximum height is about 16 feet. Here are a few other shrubs that are nearer your size preference that offer food for birds and other wildlife:

Northern bayberry or Candleberry (Morella pensylvanica)
Fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica)
Elderberry or Black elder (Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis)
Highbush blueberry ( Vaccinium corymbosum)
Maple-leaf viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium)
American hazelnut (Corylus americana)

All the above are deciduous, but here is a native evergreen shrub that has high wildlife value—Inkberry (Ilex glabra)

You can look at more possibilities by doing your own search in the Native Plants Database and choosing to "Narrow your search" under the Combination Search option. You can select "Shrub" under Habit and "New York" under Select Your State to see more choices.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Replacing yellow bells with hibiscus from San Antonio
July 03, 2012 - Help! Will the roots of the yellow bells keep sprouting if I've removed the shrub? I'm replacing it with a hibiscus shrub. Will it do well in the same spot where the yellow bells were?
view the full question and answer

Pruning Ageratina havenensis from Magnolia TX
June 18, 2013 - I planted a Eupatorium havanense last year here in the last sandy finger of the piney woods; it gets full sun in a well-drained raised bed, where it flowered well. I pruned it fairly close, and it cam...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant plants for area under grand fir (Abies grandis) in Idaho
July 08, 2010 - What can I plant on a slope under Grand Fir trees in North Idaho, zone 4 - anything deer resistant?
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Hamelia patens in Laredo
September 19, 2008 - I have a question regarding Hamelias patens(firebush)that I have been trying to grow for 2 years. I live in Laredo, Texas and this area should be an excellent climate for this plant. I planted 12 of t...
view the full question and answer

Roses for Austin soil
May 01, 2014 - What roses would work in the soil near Lake Austin Spa?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center