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

Monday - June 01, 2009

From: Valparaiso, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Deer resistant, fast growing trees for screening
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Deer resistant, fast growing, native plants (trees) as a visual block.


Mr. Smarty Plants assumes you want some recommendations for the description above?  So, there are a couple of ways to approach this problem.  First, we could go to our Recommended Species page where we find a link to "Deer Resistant - Native Plants That Deer Tend to Avoid" under SPECIAL COLLECTIONS.  This is a list of more than 340 native species that are deer resistant.  We can limit that list by using the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option and choosing 'Indiana' from the Select State or Province option and 'Tree' from General Appearance.  This narrows us down to 9 species:

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud) 

Celtis laevigata (sugarberry)

Crataegus viridis (green hawthorn)

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar)

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)

Populus deltoides (eastern cottonwood)

Ptelea trifoliata (common hoptree)

Taxodium distichum (bald cypress)

Viburnum rufidulum (rusty blackhaw)

The deer resistant plant list above doesn't contain all native tree species that occur in Indiana so we can take another approach by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database and choosing Indiana from the Select State or Province option and then 'Tree' from Habit (general appearance).  This will give a list of more than 173 trees that are native to Indiana. Next we need to come up with a list of deer resistant trees native to Indiana.  There is a list on pp.14-15 of the USDA Wildlife Conflicts Information for Indiana.  Not all the plants on this list are native to Indiana, but by comparing the list to our COMBINATION SEARCH list we can find which ones are.  The trees on this list are ranked:


Betula papyrifera (paper birch)

Ilex opaca (American holly)


Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)

Cornus sericea (redosier dogwood)

Gleditsia triacanthos (honeylocust)

Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)

Pinus resinosa (red pine)

Sassafras albidum (sassafras)

To help you make a choice from the trees of these lists you will need to compare the GROWING CONDITIONS shown on their pages to that of your site.

Finally, you need to realize that even plants that are labeled "highly resistant" to deer are sometimes eaten by deer when environmental conditions have made their preferred food difficult to find.



More Privacy Screening Questions

Evergreen replacement for bamboo in Redding CA
July 27, 2009 - We have just removed bamboo from our backyard and need to replace it with a plant that will give us the same type of privacy. What plant would you suggest to plant along a fence line that will surviv...
view the full question and answer

Barrier Shrubs for North Carolina
July 11, 2015 - Need a spiny barrier shrub that will grow in North Carolina shady rain forest (4,000 feet elevation) to deter trespassers wading down a creek from climbing on a private nature path that we constructed...
view the full question and answer

Hedgerow to block sounds and scenes of traffic
May 01, 2011 - What would make the best year round hedgerow to block the sight and sounds of traffic 60 feet from my house?
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant trees for privacy in Texas
January 09, 2015 - I need to find a deer resistant tall shrub or tree to plant and hide the deer fence my neighbor just put up on our property line. My property has full sun in parts and mostly shady in other parts and ...
view the full question and answer

Native vine for privacy on metal mesh fence from Houston
March 20, 2014 - Is there a native vine that does not get top heavy in order to provide privacy from the bottom to the top on an expanded metal mesh fence? It's okay if it dies back, but prefer for it to be evergree...
view the full question and answer

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