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Thorny and Spiky Bushes for Zone 7

Suppose you have an area where you want to keep those pesky neighborhood kids of your yard. You can get a Rottweiler or perhaps a Doberman and chain it to your front yard, but that would just be too cruel for the dog and of course you don’t want to get sued! So what’s your alternative? How about some thorny and spiky bushes! Now we don’t want to kill anybody, we just want to inflict a little discomfort to keep whatever you are trying to keep out.  So what are some good pain inflicting bushes for your Zone 7 yard?

Sharp Needle Point Holly

Sharp Needle Point Holly

Needlepoint Holly

One of my favorites is the Needlepoint Holly. As the name implies, this bush has sharp needles at the ends of its leaves.  Very painful and you can be sure that most will stay clear of this bush/small tree.

Needlepoints aside, this Holly makes a beautiful evergreen pyramidal bush/tree with red berries just in time for the Holiday season.  Another wonderful qualify of this bush is its drought tolerance.   Once established you need not worry about watering this bush.  Looks great even in the hottest of summers. We have one in an extremely hot full sun area that remains hot all day long in the summer and it looks just as good in mid summer as it does in the spring and we never water it directly.

The only downside, if space is an issue, is that this one can get quite large in diameter as it can get past 10 feet wide. I’ve seen these pruned as trees with bare trunks but of course you don’t want to do that if your goal is to use its spiky properties to keep undesirables out of a particular area.


Japanese Barberry

Japanese Barberry Thorns

Japanese Barberry Thorns

This is another favorite of mine. Its got fine little thorns that painful!  Besides the thorns, Japanese Barberries are very beautiful.  They come in all sort of pretty colors like purples, pinks, yellows, chartreuse and more. I particularly love the chartreuse/yellow ones. These things really glow in the spring and start turning an orange color in the fall!

Very easy to care for and quite drought resistant.  Note that during really hot summers, they may take a little rest in the mid to later summer. You may have one that completely looses all it’s leaves only to regrow them later in the summer then loose them again in late fall.

I highly recommend planting these en mass if you want to keep things out as they don’t get particularly large. You may see 3-4 foot in height with about the same diameter.

Chinese Juniper

Chinese Juniper

Chinese Juniper

Finally, we have Chinese Junipers. These come in various types that come in green, gray-green, gold color. I particularly like these as a spiky bush because they give you a stinging type sensation from the resin contained in their needle like leaves.   From experience, I can say these are very uncomfortable when touched and will leave your skin red. I have one and I stay far away from it. I do not like the sensation one bit.

Aside from their stinging nature, they are very attractive, especially the gold and gray types.  They have a weeping type habit so when they get large, they sort of start weeping towards the ground. They are also extremely tough bushes never requiring water once established. They also take sun like champs without turning yellow. The one on my property gets full blast hot sun all summer long and it looks just as good in the dead of summer as any other time of the year.  Another nice quality is that they are readily available at most nurseries.

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