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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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Thursday - April 17, 2008

From: New York, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Deer-resistant screening tree/shrub
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Can you recommend a deer resistant screening tree/shrub? We would like to use privet but are not sure which variety or if the deer will really stay off it, we've had conflicting views! We live on the east end of Long Island, New York.


Mr. Smarty Plants would definitely NOT recommend any kind of privet (Ligustrum sp.). They are non-native and very invasive, competing with and displacing native plant species.

Here are some alternatives that are native and deer resistant, It should be noted that deer-resistant doesn't mean deer-proof. If environmental conditions have decreased their normal food supply, deer may eat plants that they normally find distasteful.


Andromeda polifolia (bog rosemary)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel) (Note: This shrub/trees is moderately deer-resistant, but probably less so than the others on the list.)

Mahonia aquifolium (hollyleaved barberry)


Calycanthus floridus (eastern sweetshrub)

Cornus sericea (redosier dogwood)

Hamamelis virginiana (American witchhazel)

Ilex glabra (inkberry)

Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac)

Sambucus racemosa (red elderberry)

Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw)

Viburnum dentatum (southern arrowwood)

You can see the deer resistance rating for a large number of plants from Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station as well as another list of Deer Resistant Plants by Scientific Name.

You can see other native plants that grow well in New York on our New York Recommended page.

Andromeda polifolia

Ilex opaca

Kalmia latifolia

Mahonia aquifolium

Calycanthus floridus

Cornus sericea

Hamamelis virginiana

Ilex glabra

Rhus aromatica

Sambucus racemosa

Viburnum prunifolium

Viburnum dentatum




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