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Thursday - December 17, 2015

From: Prairie Du Chien, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Non-Toxic Hedge for Wisconsin
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

What would be a good non-toxic for dogs, privacy hedge about 3-6 feet tall for Wisconsin climate zone 4b?

ANSWER:

The first place to start your search is in the Native Plant Database. Narrow your search criteria by selecting Wisconsin, Shrub, Perennial, Sun, Moist soil, 3-12 feet tall and Evergreen (for the most privacy). This will fit all of your criteria except for your dog-friendly request.

Only one plant fits this search:

Taxus canadensis (Canada/American yew)

American yew is a low, straggling shrub or ground cover, 3-6 ft. tall and twice as wide, with flat, narrow needles that are dark green above and pale green below. Evergreen foliage takes on a reddish-brown tint in winter. Spreading limbs ascend at the tips. Bright-red, berry-like fruit grows at the tips of the branches. Needs protection from winter sun and wind, heat or drought. Pest free.

Unfortunately, the ASPCA website lists this plant as being toxic to dogs. The USDA also reports that Yews (Taxus spp.) have also caused poisoning in cattle, horses and sheep when they have eaten the trimmings. Perhaps there is an option for a low inner chainlink fence to keep your pets away from the privacy hedge and then the yew can be used?

There are many deciduous, native shrubs that could be used as an informal hedge that are not toxic to pets or humans that could be used if you could tolerate less of a privacy hedge and more of a visual screen. Change your search criteria used above to Deciduous instead of Evergreen for this group.

 

From the Image Gallery


Canada yew
Taxus canadensis

More Privacy Screening Questions

Hedge plant for Maui.
February 17, 2009 - Question: I live in Pukalani, Maui, Hawaii and would like to put a "living fence" around my yard for some privacy. Ideally, I want something that is going to grow fast and about 8+ feet tall for a h...
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Shrubs/ Trees for Privacy Screening on Cape Cod
April 17, 2012 - Hi, I need a recommendation for a row of trees/shrubs that I can put on my boundary line to block my neighbor. It's in a wooded area that I could thin somewhat. I would need them to be fast growing...
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Fast-growing screen for New York
June 04, 2010 - I need a fast growing screen to put along my fence due to undesirable neighbors who moved next door to my summer place. Small lot: 25'x25' . The side is south and the lot is partially shade w sandy s...
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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
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Need shrubs for a privacy screen in Glendale CA
October 30, 2014 - Dear. Mr. Smarty Plants I need to grow a tall hedge 15-20 feet minimum to block a condo complex which overlooks my back yard. I need a fast growing hedge which is non toxic to dogs and one which roo...
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