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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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Monday - February 07, 2011

From: Reisterstown, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Planting, Shrubs
Title: Need replacements for old arborvitaes destroyed by snow and ice in Reisterstown, MD.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Our big old arborvitaes have been destroyed by snow and ice. Rather than a fence we would like to use plants/bushes for privacy. We live in zip 21136. This would extend all across the back property line. The soil is just normal for the area. Deer resistant and native are preferable. Help!

ANSWER:

One possibility is to replace the old with the new, arborvitae that is. The Arbovitae that is native in the northeast is Thuja occidentalis (Arborvitae), but from what I've read, deer seem to love it. This link from North Dakota State University Extension  has a plethora of questions and answers about growing Arborvitae.

What are the alternatives? Lets go to the Native Plant Database and check it out. After clicking on the link, scroll down to the Combination Search Box, and make the following selections: choose Maryland under State, Shrub under Habit, and Perrenial under Duration. Check Sun under Light requirement, and Dry under Soil moisture. Click the "Submit combination Search" button and you will get a list of 34 native species occurring in Maryland that meet these parameters. Clicking on the name of each plant will bring up its NPIN database page that contains the plant's characteristics, its growth requirements as well as pictures.

I did the search and came up with these possibilities.

Elaeagnus commutata (Silverberry)

Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac)   highly deer resistant

Rhus copallinum (Winged sumac)

Vaccinium corymbosum (Highbush blueberry)

Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar)  highly deer resistant Dwarf varieties are available

The plant you select depends on the growing conditions at your particular location, and perhaps your neighbors. For some help closer to home, you might contact the folks at the Baltimore County office of University of Maryland Extension.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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