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Deer Resistant Hedges

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Deer Resistant Hedges

Top 10 Deer – Resistant Hedges

Many of us battle daily with large resident deer populations that love to devour our rose bushes, fruit trees, and generally our favorite and most prized plants. While some small things can be protected with fencing or deer-repellant spray, these defenses are simply not practical for protecting long hedges.

Fortunately, we grow a selection of deer-proof hedges as well as hedges that deer just don’t prefer to eat unless they are really hungry. Not only does planting a deer-resistant hedge keep them from eating the hedge itself, but planting a tall hedge around the rest of your garden will help keep the deer away from everything else, as they prefer not to jump over borders that they can’t see over. This will also help protect small trees that they like to rub on even if they don’t care to eat them.

These are our top 9 deer-resistant hedges:

Deer-Proof Hedges

Disclaimer: we can’t really promise that anything is fully “deer-proof”, as some deer have different tastes and very hungry deer will be a lot less picky. Based on our experience, though, these five are about as close to deer-proof as you can get:

Green Mountain Boxwood

Green Mountain Boxwood (Buxus x ‘Green Mountain’) is a hybrid boxwood hedge that deer avoid at all costs. The leaves are dry and leathery, and there is a faint hint of feline urine in the smell when the foliage is bruised. If a deer had to choose between eating boxwood and starving to death, it would probably choose the latter.

Cherry-Laurels

Cherry-Laurels are a tried and true deer-proof hedge. All three of our types – English (Prunus laurocerasus), Schip (Prunus laurocerasus ‘Schipkaensis’), and Portuguese (Prunus lusitanica) – are totally unattractive to deer. It might be the smell, taste, or tough texture of the leaves, or possibly a combination of factors. We don’t really care what it is, honestly, just knowing that it works is enough for us.

Virescens Western Red Cedar

Virescens Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata ‘Virescens’) is native to the western coast of the United States. No one really knows why, but deer completely leave it alone. It is very similar to the American Arborvitae of the east coast, which deer devour, so it seems like they should eat this one, too. All we can say is “they don’t.”

Virescens Western Red Cedar

Virescens Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata ‘Virescens’) is native to the western coast of the United States. No one really knows why, but deer completely leave it alone. It is very similar to the American Arborvitae of the east coast, which deer devour, so it seems like they should eat this one, too. All we can say is “they don’t.”

Green Giant Arborvitae

Green Giant Arborvitae is a hybrid between Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) and Japanese Arborvitae (Thuja standishii). It seems to have inherited extreme deer-resistance from its Western Red Cedar parent, because they don’t touch this one either. It grows fast, which is another bonus since it can quickly become a tall enough hedge to discourage them from trying to leap over it or go through it. Also, Discover more hedges.

types of arborvitae

Teton Firethorn

Teton Firethorn (Pyracantha ‘Teton’), as the name suggests, is covered in long, sharp thorns. Deer seem to look past the thorns on roses, but rose thorns seem fleshy and soft when compared with those of the Firethorn. They are sharp. They grow quickly, too, so they make a great fence to keep deer out of the whole garden.

Teton Firethorn

Teton Firethorn (Pyracantha ‘Teton’), as the name suggests, is covered in long, sharp thorns. Deer seem to look past the thorns on roses, but rose thorns seem fleshy and soft when compared with those of the Firethorn. They are sharp. They grow quickly, too, so they make a great fence to keep deer out of the whole garden.

Deer-Resistant Hedges

Most deer, if not too desperate, will avoid these hedges. Part of it has to do with timing, especially for the deciduous hedges on this list, as the trees are leafless when the deer are the most hungry. Others are just not preferred.

European Beech

European Beech (Fagus sylvatica) is not a deer-favorite. In summer, the leaves are a bit tough and leathery, and there are lots of other and more desirable options to choose from. In winter, when other options are limited, the beech has only bare branches and dry, crunchy leaves. Not exactly a choice salad.

Flame Amur Maple

Flame Amur Maple (Acer ginnala ‘Flame’), much like the European beech, is simply not in leaf when the deer are hungry enough to consider it during the winter months. When the leaves are more succulent, the deer have tastier things to choose from.

Flame Amur Maple

Flame Amur Maple (Acer ginnala ‘Flame’), much like the European beech, is simply not in leaf when the deer are hungry enough to consider it during the winter months. When the leaves are more succulent, the deer have tastier things to choose from.

Royal Star Magnolia

Royal Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata ‘Royal Star’) has thick, leathery leaves in the summer but only bare branches in winter. The flower buds are very fuzzy in spring, which is a texture that deer tend to dislike.
They generally ignore it.

Wichita Blue Juniper

Wichita Blue Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita Blue’) has a strong aroma and somewhat prickly foliage, which is unappealing to most deer. This is an especially good choice for cold, mountainous regions where deer are plentiful and hungry.

Wichita Blue Juniper

Wichita Blue Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita Blue’) has a strong aroma and somewhat prickly foliage, which is unappealing to most deer. This is an especially good choice for cold, mountainous regions where deer are plentiful and hungry.

IN SUMMARY

This handy deer-resistance chart compares our most popular hedge varieties based on deer resistance strength and other key features:

Name Deer-Resistance Exposure Zone Growth Rate Evergreen/Deciduous
Green Mountain Boxwood Extreme Sun to Part Shade 4 Moderate/Slow Evergreen
Cherry Laurels Strong Sun to Part Shade 6 Fast Evergreen
Western Red Cedar Strong Sun to Part Shade 5 Moderate/Slow Evergreen
Green Giant Arborvitae Strong Sun to Shade 6 Fast Evergreen
Teton Firethorn Strong Sun to Part Shade 6 Moderate/Slow Evergreen
Arrowwood Viburnum Good Sun to Part Shade 2 Moderate Deciduous
Bald Cypress Good Sun to Shade 5 Fast Deciduous
European Beech Good Sun to Shade 5 Moderate Deciduous
Flame Amur Maple Good Sun to Part Shade 3 Fast Deciduous
Wichita Blue Juniper Good Sun 4 Moderate Evergreen
Royal Star Magnolia Good Sun to Part Shade 5 Moderate Deciduous
Hicks Yew Poor Sun to Shade 5 Moderate Evergreen
Emerald Green Arborvitae Poor Sun 2 Slow Evergreen
American Arborvitae Poor Sun 2 Fast Evergreen
Cornelian-Cherry Poor Sun to Part Shade 5 Moderate Deciduous

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By |2019-06-29T07:57:01+00:00May 16th, 2019|Plant Spotlights|