Deer and Arborvitae

ikea_gwAugust 7, 2010

I am thinking about planting some arborvitae to provide year round privacy around the house. Our neighborhood has a moderate sized deer population. If I don't spray my daylily, hosta or roses they will be eaten by deer. Bobbex once a month seems to do a very good job at deterring them. Do you think arborvitae will do okay here? The varieties I am considering include Degroot's Spire, Nigra, and Emerald Green. Is any of these better or worse than the others? Thanks!

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Those are all Thuja occidentalis cultivars ("Emerald (Green") is a translation of 'Smaragd' and not the correct name of the cultivar, which is 'Smaragd'). Deer appear to love this species as winter browse, or it is at least something than can use (a seemingly curious thing about deer is that although native to cold climates they routinely run out of food during the winter, are subject to starvation some years).

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 1:42PM
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Dan Staley

Not a preferred browse, but palatable when hungry. You always can tell where deer are by looking at the arborvitae, IME.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 6:46PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

"Than" was supposed to be "they", it would sure be nice if a self-editing feature was added to this site.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 12:38AM
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Deer have winter browsed most arborvitae in this town to the lollypop stage... despite the availability of their natural food or not. I just had a 20 footer taken out since it was chewed up to about the 8' mark and was beyond the point where it would ever look like anything good again.

Maybe the deer in your area have developed a different palate - but if I were putting in any new arborvitae, I'd at least burlap them in the fall - and be prepared to do that for years. Looks horrible, but your investment is protected.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 11:08AM
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Dan Staley

I second that motion.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 11:11AM
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Yum Yum. Feed the deer! Anyone with deer around is frankly crazy to plant arborvitae - THEY WILL BE EATEN, period. They are ugly trees anyway and do not take snow and ice or drought well. A better choice is Canadian Hemlock - just be prepared to spray with horticultural oil a couple of times a year.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 2:22PM
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Canadian hemlocks get 100' feet though, arborvitaes don't.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 7:41PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Depending on where the OP is in zone 7, a hemlock may cook or be eaten by wooly adelgids. And deer have been known to munch them as well.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 11:05PM
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