Need an appropriate hedge or row of evergreens

Asked March 30, 2020, 5:08 PM EDT

Hi. We live in Johnson County and have a west-facing fence that could use a privacy hedge. The width of the area is 10 feet, and we'd like something that reaches no higher than eight foot tall. It must be deer resistant. We've considered arborvitae, but I believe deer like to eat the lower branches of that. We've also thought about American boxwood, but it's slow-growing. Any suggestions for an old (100+-years) woodland-style shade garden with just a tad of formality to it? Thank you so much! Sincerely, Laurie Cummins

Johnson County Iowa

4 Responses

Arborvitae make excellent screens. They grow best in full sun to partial shade (about 3 to 4 hours of sun). Deer are quite fond of arborvitae.

Boxwoods are rather finicky in Iowa. They are not very reliable. Most cultivars do not get taller than 3 to 4 feet.

Yews perform well in sun or shade. The cultivar 'Hicksii' can grow to a height of 8 to 10 feet. Unfortunately, deer are also quite fond of yews.

Few evergreens grow well in shade. Those that can be grown in shade (arborvitae and yews) can be severely damaged by deer. I don't know of any shade tolerant evergreen that is not damaged by deer.


Thank you so much for your response! As you've identified, we've got a challenging yard. It sounds like arborvitae may be the best hope, as we don't love yews.

Thank you!