Deer-resistant evergreen shrubs for screening

Q. We’re looking to plant a number of border shrubs since our new neighbor built a garage right behind our property! They will get full sun and heavy soil. We considered arborvitae but have deer that occasionally stroll through. The space is approximately 20’ x 15’. We prefer evergreen shrubs. Do you have any recommendations?

A. Thank you for this question! Finding effective, deer-resistant screening plants is a common dilemma.

Arborvitae, also known as Thuja, do a great job of screening but many are browsed by deer, especially during the winter. Thankfully, there are varieties that are less tempting to deer than others.

Deer are strongly attracted to arborvitae in the ‘occidentalis’ family, but not as much to those in the ‘plicata’ family. A popular plant in the plicata family that will do the job you need is the Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja plicata), also known as Western White Cedar. It will grow 3 to 5 feet each year and provide dark green foliage year-round. Another similar variety is Spring Grove.

Another evergreen option for screening would be a Hetz Juniper.

All of these plants are very hardy and have the dense, columnar foliage and growth habit you are looking for.

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Answer Provided By ...

Jerry Somalski

Jerry is a Landscape Designer, Project Manager, and the President of Bay Landscaping. He began learning about plants and landscape design as a young boy, hoeing in the family nursery and tagging along with the landscape crews who taught him the tools and methods of the trade. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Central Michigan University, he returned to the family business. Jerry has an enthusiastic yet practical approach to landscape design, focused on choosing the right plants (ones that thrive in the mid-Michigan climate) for the right place to create sustainable and spectacular landscapes. He loves to share what he knows with gardeners throughout Michigan! Learn more about Jerry >>