Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Tuesday - April 30, 2013

From: Fairfield, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Deer Resistant, Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Shade Tolerant, Deer Resistant, Evergreen Hedge Suggestions for CT
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I think I am asking for a lot, but here we go… Is there a deer tolerant evergreen that can grow in the shade and create a hedge of 5 feet tall here in CT? I am not opposed to ivy covering a fence if that is what it takes?

ANSWER:

The first place to go to find a list of potential plants is our Native Plant Database. Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.

Under Combination Search, select the following categories: Connecticut, Habit – shrub, Duration – perennial, Light requirement – shade, Leaf Retention – evergreen and Size – 3-6 ft.

Once a preliminary list is compiled, the plants have to be assessed for their deer-resistance. Look at the list of deer resistant species that is on our website.

Unfortunately no native plants for your area fit the criteria of being evergreen, deer resistant, shade tolerant, and 5 feet tall.When the search was broadened to include taller plants (without consideration for deer resistance) many Juniperus (junipers), Pinus (pines), Tsuga (hemlock), Thuja (arborvitae), Picea (spruce) and even a holly (Ilex opaca) appeared but they are much taller than your five foot tall hedge requirement.

Also there are several native vines that would cover a fence nicely but none that are evergreen in your region.

So, the shade tolerant, deer resistant, deciduous vine possibilities that could be used as a screen with a solid fence (for year round impact) include:

Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet) woody vine to 30 ft. In the fall showy orange capsules split to reveal crimson arils. Deciduous. Deer resistant.

Clematis virginiana (Devil’s darning needles) fine-textured vine to 15 ft. A profusion of small white flowers in summer followed by a plume-like feathery achene.Deciduous. May be browsed occasionally by deer.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) deciduous vine to 40 ft. Brilliant mauve, red and purple fall color. Moderately deer resistant.

Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria) deciduous vine to 25 ft. Large drooping clusters of lilac flowers after the plant is in leaf and on new wood. Deer resistant.

 

From the Image Gallery


American bittersweet
Celastrus scandens

American bittersweet
Celastrus scandens

Devil's darning needles
Clematis virginiana

Devil's darning needles
Clematis virginiana

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

American wisteria
Wisteria frutescens

American wisteria
Wisteria frutescens

More Privacy Screening Questions

Evergreen privacy screen in California
February 18, 2015 - Hello, My family and I just bought a house in Paradise CA. I want to.plant privacy plants that are native to northern California. I would like the plant to be green all year but drought resistant if...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for shrubs for a screening barrier along a fence line in Austin, TX.
July 24, 2009 - Hi! I am new to Austin and I live in a town home community that backs up to an existing neighborhood. There is no screening on my fenceline, which is only about 30 feet from my back porch! I also ha...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant, fast growing trees for screening
June 01, 2009 - Deer resistant, fast growing, native plants (trees) as a visual block.
view the full question and answer

Tree for screening along road
August 20, 2008 - What would you recommend for a linear tree lined street that needs to act as a buffer to hide less desirable backyards of ugly houses. The road is on lake travis near austin, texas. was hoping for a...
view the full question and answer

Need Fast-Growing Screening Shrub for Arlington, TX
March 16, 2011 - What fast growing shrub/tree could be planted along side a fence to provide additional privacy? We have a pool in our backyard and the view behind our house is less than enjoyable. We would like to ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.