The Q&A Archives: deer resistant evergreen hedge suggestions

Question: I would like to plant a living wall between my house and the new neighbors. They are quite noisy & messy. The area is shaded w/existing oak and cherry trees. There is also a large local deer population. The soils is mostly clay with a bit of a bit rocks and on the acidic side. I tried hemlocks but they were eaten as well as the mountain laurel. Any suggestions you have would be great. Thank you - Kathleen

Answer: Based on your description, this is quite a difficult spot to plant due to tree roots, shade, and clay based soil -- plus the deer issue. Most evergreens need full sun all day long or for a minimum of six hours including the hour of noon. Depending on how much sun reaches the planting spot you might be able to grow Pieris japonica. Certain cultivars eventually reach quite a large size. These have a reasonably good track record with deer resistance. You might also be able to grow the big, winter hardy Catawba rhododendrons there if there is a bit of slope so the soil drains adequately. However, I would strongly suggest a protective fence to prevent the deer from damaging the rhododendrons.

You may find the following plant lists interesting. It was developed for West Virginia however the plants listed should also do well in your area.

I hope this helps!

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