Q. What are some deer-resistant evergreens for screening?
Deer can be a real problem when they browse a delicious favorite evergreen such as American arborvitae, also called white cedar (Thuja occidentalis). But here are some good alternative evergreens to provide a border or screen and not deer candy:
- Japanese or Sawara false cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera) cultivars/varieties include 'Filifera', 15-20 feet high, and 'Boulevard', 10 feet or higher.
- American holly (Ilex opaca) cultivars and varieties include 'Carolina #2', 'Dan Fenton', and the dwarf 'Clarendon'. Ilex opaca 'Croonenburg' can bear red berries with a separate pollinator.
Hollies belong to the group of plants with separate sexes. Staminate (male) flowers grow on one plant and pistillate (female) flowers on another plant. Both must be present in the vicinity to ensure the fertilization of the pistillate flowers, especially to ensure berries on the popular red fruiting forms, although there are black fruiting forms. In some regions where hollies are native, wind-blown pollen or insect-carried pollen may be sufficient, so that only the pistillate form of the species need be planted in a garden. Pollen from one species of holly may fertilize the flower of another species, but it is essential for the two to be in bloom at the same time.
- Juniper or red cedar (Juniperus virginiana): One variety, 'Hillspire', grows to 15-30 feet high and 5-15 feet wide.
- Common boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)
- Japanese plum yew (Cephalotaxus harringtonia) are other deer-resistant options. Not large when purchased, these plants are slower-growing but can develop into sizable screens. (Do not confuse Cephalotaxus with Taxus, which is highly appealing to deer!)
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service