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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.

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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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Tuesday - March 15, 2011

From: Romeo, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Deer Damage to Pencil Holly in Michigan
Answered by: Marilyn Kircus

QUESTION:

I have 5 sky pencil holly bushes that are about 3 feet tall each..they don't grow very fast. I was looking forward to them reaching the 7 feet mark one day, as they are going to serve as a screen behind a statue. We live in the woods and the deer ate half of the foliage off of them and some of the tops of the branches. It's been a rough winter here in Michigan. They look pathetic now..do you think they will come back/recover this spring? Thank you for your time.

ANSWER:

Pencil holly is native to Japan and we are only able to answer questions about plants native to the United States. However it is my personal experience that, unless you provide protection for your plants, deer will eat most of them. I recently planted around 200 trees and shrubs on a new property and ended up having to build a little circular fence around each tree/shrub to protect it from deer.  And if any branches grew out through the wire, the deer ate them.

The branches on evergreens will not grow back and you will no longer have a screen to the ground. And if the trees without tops even live, they will probably  be distorted. Contact a nursery or your county agriculture agent for more help.

 

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