Which Evergreens Are Deer Resistant?


Quick Answer

Although no plant is completely off limits to deer, some evergreen shrubs and trees are unappealing to deer. The Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, or NJAES, rates some plants as "rarely damaged" by deer, indicating that deer eat them infrequently. Many types of pine trees are uninviting to deer, including Japanese Black Pine, Pitch Pine and Red Pine.

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Full Answer

American Holly and Dwarf Alberta Spruce are other evergreen trees rated as rarely damaged, making them good candidates for landscapes where deer roam. Deer-resistant evergreen shrubs include Common Boxwood, Barberry, Japanese Plum Yew, Russian Cypress and Sweet Box, plus Pieris and cultivars, especially Japanese Pieris and Mountain Pieris, .

NJAES also rates some evergreen trees and shrubs as "seldom severely damaged." Trees in this category include Austrian Pine, Colorado Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir, Japanese Cedar and Scotch Pine. Evergreen shrubs include Chinese Holly, English Holly, Mugo Pine, and Winterberry Holly.

NJAES cautions that using these trees and shrubs successfully depends on the local deer population and weather conditions. If deer cannot find any other food source, they do eat trees and shrubs rated as "rarely damaged" or "seldom severely damaged." Installing sturdy wire fencing at least 5 feet tall provides additional protection against deer. Some gardeners also use repellents, such as bar soap.

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