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Non-toxic bushes that can be (easily) maintained around 4' high?

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  • Non-toxic bushes that can be (easily) maintained around 4' high?

    Bonus points for evergreen and/or decorative.

    Our not-huge backyard is bounded by the pasture fence. I'd like to plant some kind of bush or shrub that would provide a visual barrier, on the side visible to the neighbors, both for aesthetic improvement and a modicum of privacy. I thought of vines (we have mesh pasture fence) but they are impossible to keep from wrapping around the electric tape on top and shorting it out.

    So, what are my options? Would be planting on the backyard side of the fence, not inside the pasture, but need to be non-toxic as horses will be able to reach. I also want to be able to look over them to see the horses and keep an eye on the electric tape, hence the need to keep them smallish.

    We're in north FL, good soil, drains well but not too sandy. Lots of sun, of course.
    Custom and semi-custom washable wool felt saddle pads!

  • #2
    I use dwarf Alberta spruce trees ...see here..http://landscaping.about.com/od/ever...rta_spruce.htm

    Also, I have used lilac and honey suckle but they require pruning.


    • #3
      We had a mature, deciduous, trimmed hedge surrounding our back and side yards at our last house and while the privacy was awesome, it was a TON of work to maintain. I vote for the more naturalized route (i.e. trees or shrubs you don't trim).

      Also, it didn't offer nearly as much privacy in the winter, of course.

      I tried growing arborvetae (sp?) as a screen and the bunnies ate the bottom portion one winter.
      DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


      • #4
        Not a bush but Fountain Grass can get pretty big. Requires no maintenance and looks nice. I love that stuff!


        • #5
          Called: Hawaiian Snowbush, Snow Bush, Snow-on-the-Mountain, Sweetpea Bush (Breynia disticha)

          Drops it's leaves during cold snaps but comes back. Pretty - bush with green, pink and white variegated leaves. Invasive - roots and seeds so need to contain unless you don't care.

          Now in Kentucky


          • #6
            knockout roses. cut 'em way back and they come back strong; you get roses and a hedge. they bloom almost season-long. they also grow about anywhere, unlike other roses. red, pink, white (lightest pink, really) and now a double red as well.


            • #7
              Horses will eat roses (ask me how I know!)
              Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


              • #8
                I have some Knockout roses on my fence line and like them very much. They are beautiful and the only care they have needed is some water in prolonged dry spells and occasional cutting back. They are very thorny and my horses don't seem interested in eating them.


                • #9
                  I am just going through this myself.........I am in phila,pa area......spirea bushes grow very fast, very bushy, can be cut to the ground and will return......gets lovely white flowers...is deciduous, but the fine branches are so dense you cannot see thru...

                  forsythia will do the same


                  • #10
                    yes, the horses will graze on roses. But unless it is INSIDE the fence, and can be eaten to the ground, it will do just fine! I have a rose along my fence line that the horses can reach - they eat their side, I look at my side! Roses are very resilliant - it will just grow more on the other side. And, it sounds like you would be looking at the "unreachable" side of the plants.


                    • #11
                      Maiden grass, Varigated Ginger Hedging bamboo, are all safe.


                      • #12
                        Butterfly bushes. There are new varieties that don't set seeds and grow 3-5 feet tall. Even my goats don't bother them (much)
                        I wasn't always a Smurf
                        Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                        "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                        The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                        • #13
                          Glad to hear butterfly bushes aren't toxic - I have them growing wild around my farm and wanted to transplant some near the barn.

                          What about forsythia??