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Deer-resistant Evergreens

By Jamie Aramini ; Updated September 21, 2017
deer image by bedecs from Fotolia.com

Spotting a deer in your backyard for your first time can be an exciting moment. The excitement soon wears off when you realize that it is not just paying you a friendly visit but is there to feast on your edible landscaping. While no plant is deer proof, there are some evergreens that are less palatable to these wild creatures.

Japanese Plum Yew

The Japanese plum yew looks similar to standard yews. It has needles that are aboyt an inch long and a dark green color. These shrubs can be left to grow naturally into a dense hedge or can be pruned to make a more formal arrangement.

Oregon Grape

This plant group contains shrub and ground-cover varieties. Check with your local nursery or mail order catalog to select a plant that will work for your climate, as the cold-tolerance of these plants varies widely within the species.

American Holly

The holly tree, with its inedible red berries, is not favored by deer. It is a slow-growing tree but can reach heights of up to 60 feet. The ornamental branches are often used in festive winter decorations.

Douglas Fir

The Douglas fir is perhaps most recognized as a popular choice for use as a Christmas tree. It is also known to be deer-resistant. This evergreen thrives in Western states, and cultivated varieties often reach 60 to 70 feet in height.


The boxwood is another evergreen that deer do not enjoy. Most varieties of boxwood bloom in early spring, but the shrubs also retain their green foliage year-round. Much like the yew, the boxwood can be aggressively pruned to create a formal hedge or left to its own devices for a more natural look. Some varieties can grow up to 15 feet tall.


About the Author


Jamie Aramini has been writing professionally since 2006 and is the author of Eat Your Way Around the World, Geography Through Art with Sharon Jeffus, and the Adventures of Munford series.