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Deer-Resistant Trees and Shrubs

As evening falls, they can be seen grazing in a field. It can be a serene sight...until they use your gardening beds as their new favorite fast-food joint! While no plant is 100% deer-proof (because, as you know, deer will eat anything if they're hungry or curious enough), there are many trees and shrubs that are considered deer-resistant. Deer will avoid these plants because of their smell, texture, or taste. Planting some of these trees and shrubs in your garden will help signal to the deer that your yard is not full of their favorites.

Deer tend to love new foliage (which is why they go for fresh leaves in spring) as well as saplings and young trees. If you're planting a young tree, consider protecting it with temporary fencing to keep these curious animals from nibbling it!


Trees that are Considered Deer-Resistant:

Colorado Blue Spruce: evergreen; matures to be 50'H x 20'W, slow grower, in our region prefers a mostly sunny location with some late afternoon shade.

Dawn Redwood: deciduous conifer; matures to be 90'H x 25' W, beautiful fall foliage and lovely fern-like leaves.Loves full sun.

Ginkgo: deciduous; matures to be 50'H x 20'W, gorgeous fan-like leaves. Variety 'Autumn Gold' turns a brilliant bright yellow in fall. This tree is a showstopper in your yard! Loves full sun.

Kousa Dogwood: deciduous; matures to be 25'H x 25'W, a smaller tree that blooms slightly later in spring than the traditional Dogwood. It is an excellent understory tree (to be planted under the canopy of large, mature trees) as it loves part sun locations.

Kwanzan Cherry: deciduous; matures to be 30'H x 30'W, a mid-spring bloom that features gorgeous clusters of bright pink flowers. Can be prone to disease- ask us at the nursery what preventative steps you can take if you are planning to plant this tree.Loves part to full sun locations.

Needlepoint Chinese Holly: evergreen; matures to 10-12' H x 12' W; ideal for a mass planting where you need privacy or a screen. It boats pretty red berries in winter that birds love. Loves full sun locations.

Red Maple: deciduous; matures to be 50' H x 40' W, features a beautiful oval form and spectacular fall foliage. Creates an amazing amount of shade once it has gotten larger and loves full sun locations.

Southern Magnolia: evergreen; matures to be 30-60' H x 15'-30' W, depending on the variety. 'Little Gem' and 'Brackens Brown Beauty' are two varieties that stay smaller than the traditional, large Southern Magnolia many of us think of. Southern Magnolias have gorgeous large, white flowers in late spring/early summer and love part to full sun locations.

Sweet Gum: decidious; matures to be 60-70' H x 30-40' W, features beautiful fall foliage with colors of yellow, orange, red and purple. This tree drops spiny, prickly fruit in the fall and therefore needs to be planted in an area where it isn't near a patio or place where people will walk barefoot. Loves full sun and is a wonderful shade tree.

Tulip Poplar: deciduous; matures to be 90' H x 50' W, this is considered one of the tallest trees in North America. It's also the Tennessee state tree. It makes a good shade tree and grows quickly. It loves full sun.

shown above: Spirea blooms

Shrubs that are Considered Deer-Resistant:

Arrowwood Viburnum: deciduous; matures to be 8' H x 7' W, 'Blue Muffin' variety features bright blue berries in fall. It has a stunning display of white flower clusters in spring. It loves part to full sun locations.

Boxwood: evergreen; matures to be 3-15' H x 3-15' W, depending on the variety. This is the plant of choice for most hedges and topiaries as it does exceptionally well at being pruned. It has small, oval-shaped leaves that look great year-round. This shrub can also be planted in large planters to flank a front entry. Boxwoods love part to full sun locations.

Butterfly Bush: deciduous; matures to be 3-8' H x 3-8' W, depending on variety, this shrub features long, conical blooms in summer that attracts pollinators! Bloom colors range from white, deep purple, pale pink, lavender, and more, depending on the variety. Its silvery green leaves look beautiful against other plants. Loves full sun.

Distylium: evergreen, matures to be 3-5' H x 3-5' W, this shrub is one you may not be familiar with. It features gorgeous glossy leaves and looks stunning when planted in mass plantings. It will do fine with pruning, however, it looks best when allowed to keep its natural shape. It's easy to care for and is not susceptible to disease. Distylium loves part to full sun locations.

Forsythia: deciduous; matures to be 3'-8' H x 3'-10' W, depending on the variety. This is a showstopper in early spring! Bright yellow blooms signal winter's end, this shrub blooms before almost all others. It blooms best when it is placed in full sun locations. It looks amazing when grouped together as part of a mass planting.

Juniper: evergreen; matures to be 1'-15' H x 3'-8' W, depending on the variety. Junipers come in all shapes and sizes and feature pretty blue berries in the colder months that birds enjoy. Many varieties offer blue foliage, which can be a stunning addition to a garden. Some varieties are tall and upright, while others (such as 'Blue Rug') are very low to the ground and sprawl out. No matter the variety, Junipers love mostly to full sun locations.

Leatherleaf Mahonia: evergreen; matures to be 6-10' H x 4-5' W, this shrub features clusters of bluish-purple, grape-like berries which are a delight to see! This broadleaf evergreen also has prickly leaves, making it a nice addition as a screen or barrier on a property. It looks beautiful in a woodland garden setting. Loves part sun locations.

Lilac: deciduous; matures to be 6-10' H x 6-12' W, depending on the variety. Not all Lilacs can grow in our region; you must plant those specifically for warmer climates. 'Betsy Ross', 'Old Glory', and 'Bloomerang' are examples of lilacs that grow well in our planting zone. They produce a sweet fragrance in mid-spring and glorious blooms that brighten up any gardening space. Lilacs need room to grow and love full sun locations.

Pieris Japonica: evergreen; matures to be 3-10' H x 3-8' W, depending on the variety. Features clusters of white blooms in spring. Older growth is bright green, while newer growth is usually bright red in appearance. Not considered a fast grower and loves part to full sun locations.

Spirea: deciduous; matures to be 2-3' H x 3-4' W, depending on variety. This shrub has gorgeous blooms in early summer and beautiful fall foliage. There are many varieties of Spirea that feature different colors of blooms. Because of its smaller size, it can work well in many gardening spaces. Loves full sun locations.

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