Defensive Shrubs For Landscaping: Tips For Using Shrubs With Thorns

rose bush thorns
Image by AnthonyRosenberg

By Bonnie L. Grant

Who needs home security when you can plant for home protection? Wicked thorns, scratching spines, pointed leaves and serrated foliar edges can cause would-be robbers more trouble than it might be worth to break into your home. There is a unique guarding plant for almost every situation and planting zone. Let’s learn more.

What are Defensive Bushes?

Home security via plants? Sounds like a funny idea but it has both economical and aesthetically sound logic. Defensive barriers have been used for centuries. The commonly known defenses might be moats or even stone walls, but the humble plant can provide resistance and security as well. Defensive shrubs for landscaping blend in and still guard the home against invasion.

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Natural barriers are a wonderful way to keep unwanted guests off the property and away from the home. Using defensive shrubs for landscaping capitalizes on their less friendly aspects while also benefiting from their beauty. So what are defensive bushes?

Placing plants with possibly harmful attributes in weak areas of the yard, intimidate, repel and prevent intruders. Planting shrubs to keep people away is a grand tradition that is reflected in huge perimeter hedges, thorny plants scaling up walls and prickly roses as foundation plantings. There are a wide variety of plant specimens from which to choose as protective home bushes.

Using Shrubs with Thorns and Other Nasty Surprises

The first step to a protected landscape is to decide where your weak points are located. You may feel that just a few windows that are near the back require protection or you may want to fortify the entire perimeter of the property.

Using shrubs with thorns at foundation points repels possible burglars effectively unless they have a shovel or pruning shears. Even with tools, removing the sharp stems and leaves is a time consuming and potentially painful undertakings, not one the average cat burglar would be willing to attempt.

Climbing plants are another way to protect the home. Painful in their own way, the following plants can serve as a deterrent and are effective choices for fending off unfriendly visits:

Additional Spiny Shrubs List

There are many choices when planting shrubs to keep people away. Medium sized to large trees that serve as excellent barriers due to their long thorns include:

  • Honey Locust
  • Cat’s Claw Acacia
  • Argentine Mesquite

In arid zones, a border of cacti and spiny tipped succulents, such as Agave, provide a spirited defense with local appeal. Old school specimens, like holly, can be trained to a wall or planted as a hedge and the serrated teeth of the leaves bite and stick as protective home bushes. Buckthorn, Osage orange and many species of rose are easy to grow and keep away uninvited visitors too.

Check with your local extension office to see what plants might be recommended for your zone.

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