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
3 ratings

Wednesday - October 16, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Thorny plants for a security perimeter in Austin TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, I am trying to establish a security perimeter around my property that incorporates thorny or otherwise deterrent shrubs and vines. Can you recommend some attractive native plants that would suit this purpose? Flowering would be a plus, but not a priority. I am in West Oak Hill in Austin, TX. Thank you!

ANSWER:

Here are some thorny plants that grow in Travis County that would make an unpleasant barrier to cross:

Mahonia trifoliolata (Agarita) is an evergreen shrub with very prickly leaves.   It has small fragrant yellow flowers in the spring that produce edible red berries.

Acacia farnesiana (Huisache) has yellow flowers and lots of small thorns.  Its common name, huisache, is derived from Nahuatl and means many thorns.

Mimosa aculeaticarpa var. biuncifera (Catclaw mimosa) has recurved prickles along its branches and showy pink flowers.

Zanthoxylum hirsutum (Texas hercules' club) has prickles on its branches very much like a rose bush.

Zanthoxylum clava-herculis (Hercules' club) also has very spiny branches.

Sideroxylon lanuginosum (Gum bumelia) has sharp thorns along it branches.  Here are photos from the Image Archive of Central Texas Plants that show the thorns.

Smilax bona-nox (Saw greenbrier) is a vine that forms thick tangles and has sharp, stout prickles that discourage movement through them.

You might mix these shrubs and vines to make an attractive, but formidable, barrier.  Most of these do have attractive flowers and many are fragrant.

 

From the Image Gallery


Agarita
Mahonia trifoliolata

Catclaw mimosa
Mimosa aculeaticarpa var. biuncifera

Huisache
Acacia farnesiana

Texas hercules' club
Zanthoxylum hirsutum

Hercules' club
Zanthoxylum clava-herculis

Gum bumelia
Sideroxylon lanuginosum

Saw greenbrier
Smilax bona-nox

More Privacy Screening Questions

Tall trees for privacy screen in St. Augustine FL
March 24, 2013 - Please let me know what kind of evergreen tall trees I can plant for privacy in my back yard in the st. Augustine, Florida area. Thanks for your assistance.
view the full question and answer

Trees for privacy screen in California
May 31, 2013 - Hi Mr. Smartypants, We are first-time home-buyers of a cute little house and a relatively large lot in Pacific Grove, CA. Unfortunately the neighbors to the north have built a second story with a nic...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen large shrub/small tree for screen in Houston
May 26, 2010 - I live on the west side of Houston Tx. I need an evergreen large shrub or shorter tree between myself and a busy neighborhood road. There is a power line above this so we would like something that e...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants for a privacy screen for a pecan orchard in Chappell Hill, TX.
September 21, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, My family has just begun converting our land in Chappell Hill, TX (Washington County) into a pecan orchard. We had to clear a lot of the overgrowth around the edge of the proper...
view the full question and answer

Screening Suggestions in Brooklyn, NY
March 08, 2013 - My neighbor directly in back of me has shrubs that are growing all over my fence. Also his 9-foot-tall shed facing me is rusted. What can I do to improve my view so that I can enjoy my backyard more?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center