The Q&A Archives: Using Barberry to Deter Foot Traffic

Question: I have a raised bed that lines my back fence in an alley. Recently, the alley was blocked directly behind my fence to prevent through traffic. The foot traffic continues right through my flower bed!! I had well-established daylilies there, but they have been trampled and crushed to death. I would like your suggestions on some type of thorn bush or shrub that I can plant in my bed to discourage people from walking on my property. The bed is 5' wide and 2'deep and is located in a shady area (some AMsun). I have checked at only one local nursery and they were unable to help me. Kim Thomas St. Louis, MS

Answer: To quote the New York Botanical Garden Illustrated Encyclopedia of Horticulture on the barberry: "all except the lowest growing form barriers unbroachable with impunity." I think it fills the bill! Barberries come in many wonderful forms, leaf shape and color, are hardy all around, and all are adorned with thorns. Here are a couple of sources for Berberis thunbergii - ask the horticulturist there which cultivar s/he would suggest for your situation: Hinsdale Nursery Hills Nursery Co. 7200 So. Madison 92 Gardner Rd. Hinsdale, IL 60521 McMinnville, TN 37110 708-323-1411 615-668-4364 Carroll Gardens 444 East Main St. Westminster, MD 21157 1-800-638-6334

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