Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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?

Share

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - January 28, 2009

From: Maple City, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Deer-resistant shrubs for Michigan
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in deer country. I'm looking for shrubs that are attractive to birds but not to deer. Our soil is sandy. I have a part sun, part-shade situation. I live in zone 6, two miles east of Lake Michigan in Leelanau County.

ANSWER:

First, let's find shrubs that are native to Michigan.  We can do this by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH on our Native Plant Database by choosing 'Michigan' from "Select State or Province" and 'Shrub' from "Habit (general appearance)".  This will give us a list that we can then check against Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance from Rutgers University in New Jersey and the Deer Resistant Species list on our webpage.  On the species page for each shrub we can also check under GROWING CONDITONS for soil type and under BENEFIT for attraction of birds.

Here are a few choices that meet your criteria of deer resistance, bird attraction and ability to grow in sandy soil in sun or part shade:

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick) rarely damaged

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush) moderate deer resistance

Lindera benzoin (northern spicebush) seldom severely damaged

Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac) high deer resistance

Ribes aureum (golden currant) seldom severely damaged

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry) moderate deer resistance

Viburnum dentatum (southern arrowwood) rarely damaged

Viburnum opulus var. americanum (American cranberrybush) rarely damaged

Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw) rarely damaged


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Lindera benzoin

Rhus aromatica

Ribes aureum

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Viburnum dentatum

Viburnum opulus var. americanum

Viburnum prunifolium

 



 


 

 

 

 

More Deer Resistant Questions

Plant for deep shade in Pennsylvania
April 09, 2013 - Hi! I am landscaping our house and trying to use only plants that provide seasonal benefit to bees, butterflies, birds etc. not the deer though. My question is that I have a fairly steep slope of abou...
view the full question and answer

Bur oak bark damage done by deer
February 03, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Just noticed that deer have been rubbing the bark on good sized, but young, bur oaks planted last spring. Mostly in one spot on one side of the trunk. Will this kill the ...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for deer resistance, low sun, granite gravel soil
March 21, 2007 - We live on Lake Buchanan in the Texas Hill country. What would you suggest for a flowerbed next to the house: north exposure, deer resistant, blooming, shaded by a live oak, granite gravel soil. Tha...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant plants for wet area in northern California
July 10, 2010 - In Napa/Sonoma/Calif mountains, deer resistant plants, shrubs that tolerate much water and full sun? Area is in 'spring area' and a butterfly bush drowned. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Perennial plants native to northeastern Pennsylvania
May 12, 2005 - What perennial plants are native to northeastern Pennsylvania?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.