Privacy shrubs good for birds but deer don't eat them

Asked August 25, 2019, 11:24 AM EDT

I'm looking for bushes that will provide privacy and food for birds but won't be eaten (destroyed) by deer. I'm in Zone 5 and the area I want to plant the shrubs gets plenty of sun and adequate water.

Macomb County Michigan

4 Responses

Hello, I’m assuming that you are looking for an evergreen plant to provide privacy year round. Junipers and boxwood are evergreens not enjoyed by deer, although if a deer is starving it will eat anything. Likewise, young deer nosh on anything until they decide they don’t like that plant. A boxwood would not provide the privacy that you want. I suggest that you consider Juniperus virginiania, commonly called Eastern Redcedar and a native to the US. You will find that a juniper hedge will also provide shelter to overwintering birds such as cardinals and chickadees. Other upright junipers would also work. Junipers require full sun. They grow well in many types of soil, are air pollution tolerant and show good salt tolerance. However they are susceptible to several twig blights so don’t allow hard sprays of water from sprinklers to hit and break the branches which would allow a disease from entering the damaged branch.

Thank you very much for the reply. The shrub can be deciduouse as privacy is not a concern in the winter. The area I want to plant gets about 8 hours of sunlight a day. I'm looking at things like Peking Cotoneaster. It is deer resistant and birds apparently love the fruit. The soil is sandy and drains well. Do you think the Peking Cotoneaster is a good choice? I read there are over two hundred species, can you tell me any other good cotoneaster choices, or any other deciduous shrubs that would fit? Thanks.

After thinking about these shrubs, I would really like a shrub with the features discussed but a native plant to Michigan. Deer resistant, food for birds, privacy screen. Thank you so much.

Juniperus virginiania is a native of Michigan.