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

Privacy screening shrubs from La Quinta CA
July 31, 2013 - I need a solid row of screen tree / shrubs that are at least 10 feet (prefer 12) tall and can be kept trimmed to a narrow (6 foot or less?) width. Will be planted against a 6' cement wall facing west...
view the full question and answer

Privacy hedge plant for Phoenix, Arizona.
March 19, 2010 - Hi, Can you tell me what would be a good plant or shrub to block one side of an unsightly 6ft high wrought iron pool fence, and create some privacy. It would be full sun and the hot temperature of P...
view the full question and answer

Looking for shrubs to replace Photinia as a privacy screen in Arlington, VA.
February 08, 2011 - Suggestions to replace diseased red tipped photinia. Looking for hardy privacy screen type of evergreen, not too deep with height of approx. 10-12' Thank you
view the full question and answer

Pruning cherry laurel in January in Austin
January 07, 2011 - Do trust I checked Q&A first. Can Cherry Laurel shrubs be pruned earlier than late winter in Austin? I foolishly planted 12 native Cherry Laurel standards on our suburban property line 5 years ago. I ...
view the full question and answer

Screening plant for pool in Cleburne, Texas
March 15, 2009 - I recently put in a very large pool. I need to plant something for fast growing, taller than an 6 ft fence for privacy. The property isn't so appealing behind my pool. When standing on my deck, I ...
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