En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - April 17, 2008

From: New York, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Deer-resistant screening tree/shrub
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Can you recommend a deer resistant screening tree/shrub? We would like to use privet but are not sure which variety or if the deer will really stay off it, we've had conflicting views! We live on the east end of Long Island, New York.


Mr. Smarty Plants would definitely NOT recommend any kind of privet (Ligustrum sp.). They are non-native and very invasive, competing with and displacing native plant species.

Here are some alternatives that are native and deer resistant, It should be noted that deer-resistant doesn't mean deer-proof. If environmental conditions have decreased their normal food supply, deer may eat plants that they normally find distasteful.


Andromeda polifolia (bog rosemary)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel) (Note: This shrub/trees is moderately deer-resistant, but probably less so than the others on the list.)

Mahonia aquifolium (hollyleaved barberry)


Calycanthus floridus (eastern sweetshrub)

Cornus sericea (redosier dogwood)

Hamamelis virginiana (American witchhazel)

Ilex glabra (inkberry)

Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac)

Sambucus racemosa (red elderberry)

Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw)

Viburnum dentatum (southern arrowwood)

You can see the deer resistance rating for a large number of plants from Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station as well as another list of Deer Resistant Plants by Scientific Name.

You can see other native plants that grow well in New York on our New York Recommended page.

Andromeda polifolia

Ilex opaca

Kalmia latifolia

Mahonia aquifolium

Calycanthus floridus

Cornus sericea

Hamamelis virginiana

Ilex glabra

Rhus aromatica

Sambucus racemosa

Viburnum prunifolium

Viburnum dentatum




More Privacy Screening Questions

Blocking out noise from pond pump in Holly MI
April 02, 2010 - My neighbor has a motor for his pond pump that faces my backyard--it is extremely loud and irritating after listening to it for 5 hours or more. Is there any type of shrub that I can plant to block o...
view the full question and answer

Screening plant for pool in Cleburne, Texas
March 15, 2009 - I recently put in a very large pool. I need to plant something for fast growing, taller than an 6 ft fence for privacy. The property isn't so appealing behind my pool. When standing on my deck, I ...
view the full question and answer

Shrub to screen backyard and block noise
March 14, 2009 - I'm trying to find a shrub to screen my backyard and block noise. I want something I can plant along the 60ft of my back fence that would get between 8 and 10 ft tall. I would like something that att...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing evergreens for privacy in Center, TX
March 30, 2010 - I live in East Texas and am looking for a fast growing evergreen for a privacy screen around my backyard. The area gets partial sun and the soil has a lot of clay in it.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen Privacy Screen for Maryland
November 19, 2012 - I am looking for an evergreen that will suffice to be planted as a privacy screen between my property and my neighbors. Looking to plant a row at the property line. The lot is shaded most of the d...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center