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?


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


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


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

Pruning buttonbush from Pottsville PA
December 10, 2013 - In a formally planted park, a small area has become swampy. I have choosen to plant it with wet tolerant native plants. I would appreciate any suggestions on pruning the buttonbush [Cephalanthus occ...
view the full question and answer

Wintering a Lemon Cypress tree in Eagan MN
September 29, 2009 - I Have a 2 1/2' Lemon Cypress Tree. I'm wondering if I can leave it outdoors for the winter, if not, how would I winter over indoors?
view the full question and answer

Holes in leaves of wax myrtle from Austin
April 30, 2011 - I just purchased 4 of the 5 gallon Wax Myrtles at the last spring plant sale and after planting them, they are getting eaten by bugs leaving holes in the leaves. I can't find any of the bugs doing th...
view the full question and answer

Damaged leaves on bottlebrush buckeye from Glen Mills PA
June 09, 2013 - My recently planted bottlebrush buckeye plants' leaves are looking damaged but it doesn't look like insect or fungus damage. They look battered by wind but I don't understand why that would happen...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrubs for blocking car noise in Austin
January 18, 2009 - I live on Bee Caves road and was wondering what is the best tree/shrub I could use to block noise from cars? I've seen evergreen mentioned, is this the right one to plant? Also, if there are existing...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center