Explore Plants

Share

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
    
 

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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - June 02, 2012

From: Hayden, ID
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Non-Natives, Deer Resistant, Trees
Title: Will deer eat lemon cypress trees from Hayden ID
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Do deer eat lemon cypress trees? We do not think so since they are so spiny, but wanted a clarification.

ANSWER:

Every time we are asked about this plant, we go through a learning process. When we search on our Native Plant Database, there is no Lemon Cypress. When we Google on it, we get webpages like this Caring for Your Lemon Cypress Trees, referring to it as having the scientific name Cupressus macrocarpa. So, we think, AHA, we'll look in our Database for that scientific name. Did that - Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey cypress). Please follow that plant link to learn, as we always do, that this plant occurs natively in only one county, Monterey County, in California, gets quite large and is dark green. We can't possibly be talking about the same plant, right? Pictures

Another source, Floridata Cupressus macrocarpa, confirmed this identification.

Then, here is this link: Cupressus macrocarpa 'Goldcrest',  as well as one from Dave's Garden which refers to the plant as a cultivar of Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey cypress) and has pictures of what must be the Lemon Cypress, much smaller than the parent plant, with a bright yellow green color. It apparently is often grown as an indoor plant. Pictures

So, having once again explained to ourselves what this plant is, we'll try to find out if it is considered deer resistant. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has a list of deer resistant plants. Please note the paragraph at the top of the list pointing out that there is no such thing as "deer proof" and if the deer are hungry enough they'll eat the sheets off your clothesline.

We found no member of the Cupressus genus on our deer resistant list. That doesn't necessarily mean it isn't, just that the subject has not been tested. But, after all that hemming and hawing, we tend to agree with you that the deer wouldn't care for it, it is spiny and has a fragrance. Deer are not usually attracted to a plant by smells, but again, if they are hungry enough, they could just hold their noses.

If you have not already purchased this plant, we suggest you do a little further research, using some of the links we have given you. Since a cultivar will not appear in our Native Plant Database, it would not be considered a native and is therefore out of our range of expertise. However, we would urge you not to consider planting them until November, at the earliest. Also, from the Dave's Garden website, above, we learned that the Lemon Cypress is only hardy to USDA Zone Hardiness 7a, while Kootenai County appears to be in Zone 6a. That probably explains why the plant is often used as an indoor plant. Plus, we don't know what kind of soils you have nor what soils this plant will tolerate. Pictures

 

 

 

More Deer Resistant Questions

Deer resistant plants for a bioswale in NJ
May 06, 2011 - We live in Morris County, New Jersey, on the edge of a nature preserve, i.e., deer are a bane to everything we plant. We recently had to have a swale dug on the west end of our house to deal alleviat...
view the full question and answer

Is Smooth Sumac deer resistant
September 01, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I noticed there was no deer resistant rating for smooth sumac in your plant data base. Aromatic sumac is rated as 'high'. Do you have an opinion on deer resistance for smo...
view the full question and answer

Plants that are deer resistant for high desert climate in Utah
January 23, 2008 - We are building in a high desert climate in Dammeron Valley, Utah. We want plants that are both deer resistant and require little watering. Can you advise which plants (shrubs, flowers, cacti) that ...
view the full question and answer

Plant for deep shade in Pennsylvania
April 09, 2013 - Hi! I am landscaping our house and trying to use only plants that provide seasonal benefit to bees, butterflies, birds etc. not the deer though. My question is that I have a fairly steep slope of abou...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant, deciduous plants for New Braunfels, TX
March 28, 2010 - I have three acres of filtered sunlight/mostly shade. What deer resistant, flowering, deciduous plants are best for the New Braunfels area. I have had split leaf phyladendruns for twenty years, but th...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.