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Monday - April 12, 2010

From: Milford, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Deer-resistant, shade tolerant evergreens for privacy in Milford MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I'm looking for deer resistant evergreens that will be planted in the shade. I need the evergreens to hide an area I don't want to see from my home. Hence, they need to go tall. Can you give me a recommendation?


This is what we call a "designer tree." Many gardeners believe that if they describe what they want completely enough, we will find it. Wish we could. Finding shade tolerant, evergreen and deer-resistant shrubs or trees, in southeastern Michigan, Zone 5b to 6a, is going to be tough. We have a list of Deer-Resistant Plants, which we will sort by looking for Michigan natives, trees, shrubs (on separate searches) and  part shade and shade. And you do realize that deer don't read well, but they do eat indiscriminately, and will as soon eat your list as avoid your trees.

As we suspected, there was exactly one shrub/tree that fulfilled all your requirements - Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar). It is common in your part of the state, grows in sun, part shade or shade and is on the deer-resistant list. However (there is always an "however"), junipers are difficult to transplant, unless they are very small. They ordinarily grow to 30 to 40 ft. tall, but can get as much as 90 ft. tall. The deer do not like the junipers because they are aromatic and prickly. It is hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 2 to 9. The only description of growth rate we could find was "moderate," whatever that means. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Juniperus virginiana

Juniperus virginiana

Juniperus virginiana

Juniperus virginiana




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