Thorny shrub instead of barbed wire?

behaviorkelton(7-ish)December 15, 2011

I'm looking to create a barrier that will serve the purpose of security (keeping folks from easily wondering onto my property).

Any ideas that will produce a thorny, difficult barrier?

In some areas, the appearance won't matter... in others, I'll want something that looks good.

For now, I'm thinking of going with a couple hundred feet of Knock Out roses in the publicly viewable areas (even though I am tiring of these kinds of roses).

If not those, I might go with blackberries. They won't look so great, but at least I can get the berries.

In the wooded areas, there won't be a ton of sun, so the barrier has to tolerate shade. On the other hand, looks don't matter. It can be ugly!

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Kind of thinking out loud (or with my keyboard)...How will you keep the weeds (invasive trees, poison ivy vines, etc, etc) out of the barrier? If you let the barrier deteriorate from these invasions, won't that defeat it's usefulness? What if you need access through the barrier (fallen tree, picking up litter, chasing a run-away pet, etc)?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 9:32PM
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Thanks for thinking about this. I've had those same thoughts.

For the unkept areas of the woods (the woods along the street), I was thinking that there might be some sort of natural, inhospitable thorn-bush that would stand up to the competition.

It wouldn't need to be an incredible wall of hell, but just enough that strolling leisurely onto my property would be a big hassle.

There are some thorny type, stiff "vines" that shoot out of the ground in the woods. If could transplant them, perhaps they will do swimmingly. They might be some sort of wild rose, but I have not lived here long enough to witness the blooming season, so I can't tell.

Knock Out roses can get tall, dense and wide. Once established like that, I would hope that they would defeat most of the stuff seeking to compete.

Along the fence line in the open area... the area in view of neighbors....I do worry about a maintenance hassle. The sheer amount of mulch alone could get expensive! Perhaps I need to find a less formal, rough and cheap type mulch for that area.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 8:19AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Just wondering, why not use a good, strong barbed wire fence? Properly installed, it could be a very good deterrent to entry, and maintenance would be minimal. Locked gates could provide alternate access points when needed. You could also use some type of hedge along the cleared property edges, but the fence along the wooded portions.

Another down-side to using thorny things along the road would be litter. Removing plastic bags, bottles, and other junk could be a real pain with a thorny border.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 5:23PM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

You don't want a rose fence in Tennessee because it will get Rose Rosette and it will spread along the fence line rapidly and lethally.

For visible parts, Pyracanthas look especially good in winter and if your part of Tennessee is mild enough, the pyracantha fruit make a good jelly.
The bitter orange / crown of thorns woody shrub is a true thorny border.
Blackberry hedges do have their merits.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 12:06AM
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Pyracanthus looks great but can grow somewhat tall, good choice if you can maintain it regularly. Mine need cutting back every year even though they are not a fence.
Blackberries mostly need to be staked, don't they? Nice but not low-maintenance.
Barberry is a beautiful thorny bush, berries can be used for seasoning pilaf, and varieties with purplish leaves exist, and it stays a medium size but it is prohibited in some areas, you'll want to check.
Gooseberry is a beautiful thorny edible! Can be trained into shape and is very resilient.
As to the spiny vines sticking out in the woods - you could mean smilax or wild sarsaparilla.These are completely unmanageable. I wouldn't bother growing them; lots of people desperately try to get rid of them. The tender shoot tips are edible and really good though.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 12:25PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

As with any gardening project, stay away from significantly invasive species. Berberis thunbergii (Japanese Barberry), for instance, is probably the most commonly grown barberry species, but is a class 2 (pretty darn bad) invasive according to the TN-EPPC.

Here is a link that might be useful: TN-EPPC Invasive Plant List

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 5:46PM
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Chris_in_the_Valley(z7 MD)

I'm rather fond of Leatherleaf mahonia, mahonia japonica bealei, which I see is on the invasive plants list. I had a large stand of the stuff on the north side of my Maryland house, shaded by a large cherry. I suffered from the hard sharp leaves while digging out a volunteer cherry. Initially I found it ugly, but fell in love with the pale yellow sprays of flowers blooming in late January through March. Against a dark background, the sprays floated mid-air when picked out by the porch light when arriving home from work during the early winter darkness. Birds love the gray/green/black berries during the spring. I've seen mature plantings of it in home landscapes here in Knoxville, so I know it grows here, apparently invasively.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 7:31PM
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We have what my dad calls "Devil's Walking Sticks" Which looks like a dwarf version of an African Thorn Tree. It has needles about 2-3" long. It would make a great barrier and deterrent! I don't know what it looks like in the spring or summer, but if you want it you are welcome to get some. We have spent several weeks trying to get rid of it as we have kids who like to play in the woods.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 8:36PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Gapeach, bring some to the ETPS!!! If you can get some with a decent amount of root, I'd love to have it!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 10:02PM
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I'll try brandon7 - I'm telling you this thing is murderous!!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 11:51AM
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I want to thank you all for this post. I was wondering the same about a line on my lawn (can't afford a fence right now)and you all have convinced me not to use the thorny bushes. It sounds as if they would be difficult to get rid of and to maintain. Thanks again

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 4:53PM
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Black Locust tree is a smallish tree with pretty pink flowers, and mesquite looking seed pods. With the most angry looking spikes of thorns that are about two inches long. A native here in S.E. TN. I would love to have one or two growing in my yard. Birds love them also.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 11:10AM
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Lived on a farm about 35 years ago in south middle TN. Had a huge front yard about 100 yards from the house and the traffic noise bothered me. Not having much money did my in borne thing. Picked bunches of seeds from the prettiest dogwoods scattered through out the farm, put them in the frig & planted them very early spring in my garden. By fall they were a good 2 feet tall and bunches of them. Planted them along the road where a fence would go----18 inches apart. In one year I had a hedge, three years a seven foot sound barrier & 35 years later love to drive by and see how pretty that twelve foot hedge, entrance & sound barrier is.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 10:25AM
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