Looking for deer-resistant evergreen

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by gabgarden, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. gabgarden

    gabgarden Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Gabriola
    I'm looking for a tall (5-15 feet), narrow (3-4 feet) evergreen, moderate to fast growing, deer-resistant, full sun in summer and open shade in winter (north side of cottage), and is available in the Nanaimo area. I know that's asking a lot, but I'm hoping to find something that meets some of these requirements, especially deer-resistant.
    Thank you.
     
  2. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Surrey,BC,Canada
    Gab--our friends in Colwood have helped us mainlanders understand the challenge of gardening for your island deer...daily visits by good sized herds are a greater challenge than almost anything your climate or soil throws at you.

    I would start by looking around at what others on Gabriola are using successfully. Do pyramidalis cedars survive the browsing there, as they will provide the vertical fast growing evergreen criteria fairly perfectly otherwise.

    Two deer resistant evergreens are mahonia (aquifolium for the tall type) and choisya (very unattractive to deer, tho not the tall narrow look you're needing).
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,653
    Likes Received:
    531
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Italian buckthorn. 'John Edwards' cultivar is narrow. Bought one at a retail nursery down here this year, don't know if anyone is stocking it up there.
     
  4. gabgarden

    gabgarden Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Gabriola
    Thanks so much for your replies. You're quite right, growest, deer seem to be the one 'condition' that we can't fix simply by amending the 'soil' here (shale, actually). I resist referring to deer as a problem because I feel it's we who are the problem in trying to alter their natural environment by planting things they like to eat and then being annoyed when they do. The deer here have browsed a local cedar hedge to resemble a row of table lamps, so that's probably not an option. I will look for mahonia aquifolium and Italian buckthorn 'John Edwards'. Thanks again.
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,653
    Likes Received:
    531
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    One cedar (Thuja occidentalis) planted here for hedging may be browsed heavily in winter, whereas another (T. plicata) tends not to be. "Pyramidalis cedar" would be T. occidentalis 'Fastigiata' ('Pyramidalis').
     
  6. gabgarden

    gabgarden Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Gabriola
    Thanks, RonB--I was able to find a website with BC specific information (The BC Environment Ministry). It lists Thuja plicata as being resistant to deer browse and also tolerates some shade (that is the second most important requirement). It seems that this and the Mahonia aquifolium, which also doesn't mind shade, are my best bets. Thanks again for all the great suggestions.
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,653
    Likes Received:
    531
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Thuja plicata is a forest giant, too large for the space. You would have to plant a dwarf cultivar to get it to be in scale. There are not many of these to choose from on the market at any one time, unlike T. occidentalis it has not given off a quantity of variants.
     
  8. gabgarden

    gabgarden Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Gabriola
    OK--perhaps Thuja plicata could be pruned to keep it from attaining it's full potential. I do seem to recall having read somewhere of 'Western Red Cedar' hedges.
     
  9. GRSJr

    GRSJr Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    Deer have never bothered our Cryptomeria japonica 'Yoshino' here. It meets all your other criteria and is an absolutely stunning plant.
     
  10. gabgarden

    gabgarden Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Gabriola
    Many thanks, GRSJr, for the suggestion. It is lovely, and just what I'm looking for, especially given that Cryptomeria japonica 'Yoshino' is also fast-growing. From what I've been able to discover, deer-resistance seems to be relative to both deer species--ours are Mule (black tail), and location--I've been told that deer preferences in one area of our small (less than 40 sq. miles) island can be very different in another. I guess the only way to find out what the deer in my neighbourhood prefer is to plant something and see if it survives. Thanks again.
     
  11. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,653
    Likes Received:
    531
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    'Yoshino' will likely also grow too large, this being a consideration depending on how long you want the effect to last. Local deer are black-tailed, mule is a different species.
     
  12. GRSJr

    GRSJr Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    Our 'Yoshino' is about 7' dia x 20' tall in 22 years with no attempt to restrain it's growth. If you find it too tall in 10 to 15 years, just cut it off at the base. New shoots will emerge so just pick the strongest one and start again.

    We've been using some stuff made from pigs remains on the gardens (not the trees) and it really works. I sprinkle some on and around every 6 months and no deer problems.

    Ran a test with a group of Hydrangeas that the deer love. Treated half of them. Deer only ate the untreated ones. Then treated all but one. Deer only ate the untreated one.

    Trouble is, I can't remember the name of the stuff. It's sold in feed supply houses, but I understand they have stopped selling it. If you're interested, I'll keep looking for the name of it. I bought 30lbs and still have over half left after 6 years.
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,653
    Likes Received:
    531
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Cutting a grafted conifer off at its base might not work, clipping or root-pruning would probably be better. You wouldn't have to start from zero, either.

    How Do You Spell Relief? F-E-N-C-I-N-G.
     
  14. GRSJr

    GRSJr Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    Our 'Yoshino' is growing on it's own roots. I know because I rooted it from a cutting taken at the National Arboretum.

    That's why I suggested cutting it at the base if and when it gets too big.

    Alternately, one could take cuttings in February, start some new trees to replace it, and then remove the old one. It roots any time of year, but the yield is 80% in February.
     
  15. Polar

    Polar Active Member

    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Pender Harbour & West Vancouver
    I'm looking for something similar though I am in Pender Harbour. Deer here eat Thuja occidentalis like candy! and azaleas too though they leave the Rhodes alone.

    I've come across the below info on the web. Anyone have any experience with this holly on the Pacific Northwest coast? Can it survive our wet winters and occasional -5 degrees C? Also, do deer leave it alone? We have hoards of mule deer here as well.

    Taken from: http://www.living-fences.com/living_fence_options.asp:

    Ilex x attenuata "Fosteri"
    Mature Height: 15-20 feet
    Growth Rate: Fast
    Growth Habit: Narrow Pyramidal
    Foliage: Dark Green
    Fall Color: Dark Green, Red Berries

    "Fosteri Holly is an excellent living fence option for narrow spaces as they are not as broad growing as other hollies. Fosteri hollies have small, dark green leaves, a profusion of red winter berries (if pollinated) and are easily pruned to maintain their width.They grow well in full or partial sun."

    Any experience seeing this as a narrow hedge?
     
  16. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    694
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    gulf island, bc, canada
    Consider clumping bamboo, particularly (based on the site and size requirements) Fargesia robusta.
     
  17. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    11,045
    Likes Received:
    302
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    Tastes vary between deer so you might be OK, but the deer around here won't leave much left of a holly.
     
  18. Polar

    Polar Active Member

    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Pender Harbour & West Vancouver
    Hmmm. I'll keep looking then. Just found out there's a garden club here (off for the winter but on again in March) so hopefully someone knows.
    Thanks for your reply!
     
  19. Polar

    Polar Active Member

    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Pender Harbour & West Vancouver
    Re: bamboo, I've witnessed so many disasters that I'm not sure I want to risk it! Perhaps if I got a clump from a mature plant, I would trust what I'm getting/ would know what to expect... I worry about perhaps rare but devastating mislabelling in nurseries re: bamboo and how they really behave in this climate....
     
  20. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    694
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    gulf island, bc, canada
    I specifically mentioned a clumping variety, and one that is well established as a good local hedging alternative in the site conditions described, so the 'disasters' you refer to would not apply, as such tales seem to apply exclusively to running types (which makes sense).

    Mis-labelling can occur, but the obvious differences in appearance between a Fargesia and a runner like Phyllostachys (even to the untrained eye) make it easy to spot this.

    Biggest potential issue around here would be the potential for a mite infestation, but every choice has it's drawbacks....
     
  21. Polar

    Polar Active Member

    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Pender Harbour & West Vancouver
    Excellent! Thank you for these details. I will look in our local nurseries to make sure I recognize the difference before selecting.

    Are you familiar with a mature hedge of Fargesia robusta? Some internet pictures show individual mature clumps as having a very vase-like structure, which makes the plant quite wide. Upright clumping would be what I'd want. Of course I can use guy-wires. Do you?

    Thank you for taking the time to reply.
    :-)
     
  22. Polar

    Polar Active Member

    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Pender Harbour & West Vancouver
    gabgarden, what did you use in the end? How is your choice evolving after almost 10 years of growth?
     
  23. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    694
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    gulf island, bc, canada
    Most running types available outside of specialty bamboo nurseries here in B.C. are Phyllostachys, which are easily distinguished from the Fargesias (and other clumping types). Easiest thing to look for is the sulcus, an obvious groove that runs the length of each culm segment. If a bamboo labelled as a Fargesia has a sulcus, it's most likely a Phyllostachys, definitely not a Fargesia. Once you see the two side by side, however, you'll immediately note the differences...leaf size is smaller on Fargesias, culms are thinner and tightly spaced, and a host of other differences that I won't get into here--point being that even to an untrained eye, it should be easy to spot/avoid any potential mis-labelling nightmares.

    After the first few results that appear when you do an image search for "fargesia robusta hedge", some of the images on the page are actually Fargesia rufa, which is squatter, wider, and bushier/floppier. The first two images on a google image search for the above phrase give a pretty good idea of how it works as a hedge. Tighter spacings on planting will result in a denser, very upright hedge...no need for guy wires--if you've gotta do that, it's the wrong choice for the spot.

    I have it growing in a mixed hedge-row (mixed with F. rufa). The robusta is definitely upright, and doesn't flop. Quick to establish as well. It does have a particular look, however, which isn't for everyone. Still, it's a relatively overlooked deer resistant evergreen hedge that provides a visual break from the usual suspects. The brighter and more vibrant green leaves in particular stand out against the Fall/Winter grey skies and usually darker greys and greens of conifers, and lighten things up.
     
  24. Polar

    Polar Active Member

    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Pender Harbour & West Vancouver
    Thank you so much woodschmoe for sharing your knowledge and experience! The detailed info is very much appreciated. I can't wait to get to the nursery. Thanks again!
     

Share This Page