En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
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

Thursday - September 12, 2013

From: Wakefield, RI
Region: Northeast
Topic: Deer Resistant, Privacy Screening, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Deer resistant, Shaded Privacy Hedge for Wakefield RI
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

We recently removed the dead undergrowth of white pines that were used for privacy. We need advice as to what type of evergreen would be suitable for growth beneath the branches above. It is VERY shady most of the time. I am looking for something that will grow at least 6ft tall and spreading wide. I'll probably need at least 14 plants. This is primarily for privacy from the road (about 150 foot line). Here is the big problem..DEER!! Thank you for your help.

ANSWER:

 OK, Mr Smarty Plants has a few suggestions for you!  My normal process is to use the Wildflower Centers Recommended Species pages for a certain area.  Of course, for you I looked at the “Recommended Species for Rhode Island”.  This didn’t work too well, especially as Evergreen is not a choice, but then I went to the Plant Database directly and was able to successfully search for "Rhode Island, Forb or Shrub, Evergreen, and in the 6 ft. plus height range.

One interesting “but” is that Deer Resistance is not one of those selection factors, so you actually need to read the plants description to see how it handles deer.  This will normally be a “Deer Resistance” comment under Benefits.  The kicker - - None of the plants I found listed for Rhode Island had one of these comments, although I list one below that had a comment that it was valuable wildlife food!  So, with that bit of frustration here’s a good set of plants that meet your requirements in general.

For Shrubs, I found 4 plants, and allowing the herbs  to also be 3-6 feet tall, I found 5 more.  Here are the top candidates with some important comments about each:

Ilex glabra (Inkberry) - 6-12 Ft
Juniperus communis var. depressa (Common juniper)  – 6-12 ft, valuable wildlife habitat and food! and needs sun
Taxus canadensis (Canada yew) – 6-12 ft
Rhododendron maximum (Great laurel) – 12-36 ft   Contains toxic substances
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (Eastern hay-scented fern), Osmorhiza claytonii (Clayton's sweetroot)   Ferns, 3-6 Ft at most
Solidago sempervirens (Seaside goldenrod)   Evergreen Herb, but needs sun

  After I wrote up all of this, I went looking elsewhere on the internet and found a bit more on Deer Resistance.  I was delighted to see that Old Farmers Almanac, had a good piece – and also many other Blogs referenced this piece from Better Homes and Gardens.   I see many favorites mentioned in these, but they are normally smaller than you requested and/or not native to your area.
 

From the Image Gallery


Inkberry
Ilex glabra

Canada yew
Taxus canadensis

Great laurel
Rhododendron maximum

Clayton's sweetroot
Osmorhiza claytonii

Seaside goldenrod
Solidago sempervirens

More Deer Resistant Questions

Have deer eaten the flowers of my Esperanza?
June 16, 2009 - My wife and I planted an Esperanza plant and it seemed to be doing well. It had numerous blossoms and we were excited at the prospect of having a beautiful plant that was alledgedly a "deer proof" ...
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

Evergreen Privacy Screen for Maryland
November 19, 2012 - I am looking for an evergreen that will suffice to be planted as a privacy screen between my property and my neighbors. Looking to plant a row at the property line. The lot is shaded most of the d...
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant plants for a steep hillside in Allison Park PA
July 30, 2010 - What do you recommend for a steep hillside, mostly shade and acidic? The deer have eaten everything except the weeds.
view the full question and answer

Texas natives that attract butterflies but not deer
December 13, 2012 - I'd like to have some plants in my garden that are butterfly attractors, but that whitetail deer won't like. I can find lists of butterfly plants, and lists of deer-resistant plants -- is there a li...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center