Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Non-native daylilies and pachysandra in same area from New York City
April 07, 2012 - Will daylilies and pachysandra thrive if planted in the same bed, or will they harm each other?
view the full question and answer

Stubs of Texas Star Hibiscus in Abilene, TX
March 26, 2009 - We have cut back our outdoor Texas Star Hibiscus for 4 years and now have a large number of old stubs that the new growth must navigate around. Will it kill the plant if we dig up the old stubs? At so...
view the full question and answer

Low growing, flowering evergreen plants for Pflugerville TX
March 30, 2010 - I am wondering if you can suggest some low growing, flowering evergreen plants for my garden.
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep bank in Pennsylvania
July 12, 2011 - What do I do with a very steep bank with hard clay soil to stop erosion and to look nice. Is there a ground cover that would help?
view the full question and answer

Container plants for part shade in Bee Cave TX
June 18, 2013 - Dear Mr Smarty Pants, I am looking for plants that will thrive on my covered porch in 3 tall planters. These are meant to help me block an unattractive view out my living room window, so they must...
view the full question and answer

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