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
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

Dog-proof shrubs in Woodmere NY
May 21, 2009 - My chocolate lab thinks that shrubs are the same as "fetch" sticks..she's ripped out my azalea, rhododendron, andromeda and a few others I'm not sure of the names. She's a great pup (almost 1 yr...
view the full question and answer

Low evergreen drought-resistant shrubs for area in partial shade
January 03, 2014 - I promised my mom to help her with some new plants for her house, so here goes. She lives near Waco on Blackland clay soil. The problem area is right in front of the house. It only receives a few hour...
view the full question and answer

Suggestions for Texas native plants for memorial
June 30, 2005 - A dear friend of ours has passed and we would like some ideas of a native Texas plant we could plant in memory of her. It will be grown in the hill region near Houston. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Male and female possumhaws for berries from Georgetown TX
April 23, 2012 - Do I need to plant two ilex decidua (possumhaws), a male and female to have red berries on the tree in the winter?
view the full question and answer

Fragrant foundation plants for sunny, dry area in Illinois
August 26, 2009 - We need suggestions of what to plant on the south side of our house heave sun and rather dry soil. We just took out old dead bushes. Would prefer something that flowers and smells nice that would gr...
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