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

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Sunday - March 28, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Deer Resistant part shade plants for Austin:
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What evergreen shrubs would you recommend for a partly-shaded area, next to a wall, which can be trimmed to keep their shape and height (for symmetry)..this is for a front gate to a community, so we need two shrubs which will be placed in front of brick columns that are about 3 feet wide and 8 feet tall, flanking the gate. They MUST be deer proof. Native species would be a plus too. Thank you from Austin, Texas!

ANSWER:

You will get recomendations only for native plants from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, because we are dedicated to the use, care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. What you will NOT get recommended is deer proof plants, because there simply is no such thing. We have a list of Deer Resistant Plants, from which we will select a few possibilities native to Central Texas, but there are no guarantees. Although this year, with the rains returning, there is more natural browse for the deer, when times are hard they will eat anything that can't get away, thorny, aromatic, or plain stinky-they don't care. So, here are what we consider best bets for your specifications. Very few of these are what you would consider a shrub that can be pruned to a specific shape; most are more open and airy. Follow each plant link to the page on that plant in our Native Plant Database to learn more about it. Three of these plants  are highly resistant to deer, and you may have to make some compromises in shape and size to get that. 

Deer Resistant Plants for Austin:

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) - moderate resistance, evergreen,can be pruned to shape

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) - highly resistant, evergreen, can be pruned but will lose a lot of blooms

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) - highly resistant, evergreen, rigid spreading branches and sharp-spined leaves

Yucca treculeana (Don Quixote's lace) - highly resistant, architectural, but not prunable

From Our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Ilex vomitoria

Leucophyllum frutescens

Mahonia trifoliolata

Yucca treculeana

 

 

 

 

 

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