Using shrubs with thorns in hedging makes them an impenetrable barrier, ideal for keeping intruders at bay. A hedge is environmentally friendly and costs a fraction of the cost of a wall or fence. A living hedge is also more wind resistant than a fence, so there are fewer maintenance costs. These UK natives are tough, suited to any aspect and soil and take the minimum of care - much less than replacing fence panels.
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) responds well to pruning and can make an impenetrable barrier. If used in a native hedge where pruning is not so hard, expect white flowers in late winter or early spring and small blue-black edible fruits in autumn.
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) is fast growing. Suitable for use as a hedge or untrimmed, where it will form a small tree with white flowers and red fruit.
Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is perfect for coastal areas. Its silvery, willow-like foliage is enlivened by edible bright orange berries in autumn.
Holly’s spines come on its leaves and the dense manner of its growth. It’s slow growing, evergreen and works well as a windbreak.