Screening shrub in 90% shade

Eri123August 12, 2013

Hi there,

I am looking for recommendations on a shrub that I can use for screening in almost full shade. The area has large trees, but the trees do not provide screening from our neighbors. The area is shaded most of the day receiving sunlight in the evening for about 1-2 hours. I am in zone 7B with a large deer population. I would prefer something that is green year round if possible and can grow to about 9-15 feet.

Thanks for any recommendations.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

it is so impossible.. to define shade in words.. or even in pix...

i have light sensitive glasses..

i have been in full shade hosta gardens.. and the glasses remain dark.. because it is so bright .. and plants can thrive in that ... usually the canopies of the trees have been raised 20 to 40 feet ...

i have also been in full shade gardens.. that are like a cave... and the ground is bare .. because there is no light..

the best suggestion.. is for you to ID the plants that are growing under there... NAME THAT PLANT FORUM .... or here ... and from there.. along with a picture..

you and us [we?] can intuit.. what might be successful there...

all that said... its one thing to get things to live.. it might be another thing to get them to grow to 14 feet .. and big transplants may not solve that ...

at least give us a pic .... plus the other requested info.. if you can...

i have

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 5:37PM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

Check out Osmanthus - not sure if it lives in your region or if deer eat it. It has prickly leaves so maybe not. It can live in a wide range of light - from full sun to a fair amount of shade. Gets big. Is evergreen. Has heady-scented flowers in autumn. One of the best shrubs around, in my book. Several different ones out there - I have about 30 of them making a screen between us and the neighbors. I chose it because the property line is shaded in some parts and sunny in others.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 9:31PM
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I have heavy a deer population here in Zone 7a/b, NJ. as well, but with more sun even in shaded areas so more options.

Osmanthus heterophylls is hardy enough and shade tolerant but a slow grower. (Don't think 'fragrans' is hardy to Zone7b.)

Maybe Skipp Laurel, deer will not eat it, just not sure of your heavy shade condition though.

Skimmia japonica, will work
Pieris japonica, also good

Holly, maybe, deer leave mine alone but have heard otherwise.
Rhododendron, again, in my area, they are not eaten, but probably would if it was the only thing green in winter.

Your biggest issue is the shading not so much the deer. If it really is quite shaded, I might consider lightening the canopy just a bit. Options certainly increase.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 8:29AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

yes!!! .. that is what i meant to say ...

you raise the canopy.. while guys can work in there .... BEFORE you underplant ....

presuming of course.. that is within the budget ...


    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 10:23AM
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Aucuba japonica, aka spotted or Japanese laurel. Grows big, grows fast and will grow in almost total shade. Very drought tolerant once established.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 3:06PM
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One problem. Deer LOVE eating Aucuba japonica. The one in the picture was moved closer to the house. They still prune the lower parts, but as the shrub is now seven feet, it is getting out of their reach. If you put in smaller ones, they will decimate them in the Winter (Fatsia japonica another one good for shade but deer love'em.) Yes, they will grow in shade though. Bottom of this shrub is underplanted with ferns--which ARE deerproof.

This post was edited by njoasis on Tue, Aug 13, 13 at 15:46

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 3:42PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Maybe check into Agarista (Leucothoe) populifolia. Might be hard to find, but some online nurseries have it. It's native to SE US.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 6:44PM
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Daphniphyllum macropodum...takes dry shade, once established. I have 2 in different shady areas in my yard and are doing very well, no deer damage

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 8:46AM
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