Suggestions for bush to replace Indian Hawthorne

lyfiaJune 29, 2009

We have several Indian Hawthornes that I love, but so does the deer and I'm tired of trying to protect them and nothing works. Any suggestions for another bush to plant instead that takes up the same amount of space when grown and is somewhat similar.

I'd prefer a low water use type plant and deer proof ;)

We are on the the higher ph scale but soil is somewhat amended. We have a drip system.

Any suggestions?

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freshair2townsquare(z7/8, D/FW)

lyfia ~

Have you checked out your local chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas? I've been using information from the Garland, Denton and Collin County chapters on plants found locally to choose my new plantings. You might find information on what plants naturally work best in your area that way. The chapter websites vary greatly, so you might have to call/email someone for the info if it's not online.

~ freshair

Here is a link that might be useful: Native Plant Society of Texas

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 3:58PM
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I've used the Austin guide that city of Austin puts out, but haven't found any that seams to fit the bill except bush Germander, which I already have several of and I'd like to use something with darker green leaves to create some interest against other plants.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2009 at 5:55AM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

Some of my neighbors have resorted to electric fence wire and ugly cages to keep the deer out. Planting something they don't like is the better option.

Here are some of the plants the deer never touch in my yard:

Abelia - not evergreen
Yaupon and Dwarf Yaupon - doesn't bloom, but is green
Boxwood - on the shady side of the house, no blooms
Beautyberry - gets tall and wide, but you can keep it trimmed. Love this plant.
Dwarf crape myrtle - not evergreen, but does bloom
Texas mountain laurel

The following aren't subs for Indian Hawthorn, but are deer proof in my yard:

Russian Olive
Red Tip
Japanese Maple

    Bookmark   June 30, 2009 at 5:53PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

I have just one short strip of electric fence where it doesn't show in my front yard and it has pretty much kept the deer out. Guess they don't want to come anywhere near it once they get shocked.

BTW, it doesn't really hurt them -- I've touched it and it is quite startling to say the least, but not damaging.

Good ideas have been presented for replacement of Indian Hawthorn. I put in a vote for dwarf youpon holly.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2009 at 7:24PM
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petzold6596(8b southern NM)

Check out Barberry Wilsonii 'Ace' on the web.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 12:06AM
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Thank you guys!!

I do have several dwarf yaupons and mine is much smaller than the Hawthornes. Is there a special kind that is a little larger that would replace those?

Some other shrubs I have are lorapetulum, Texas Sage, bottle brush (dwarfs), Bush Germander, Esparanza, and blue plumbago. I do have a Yaupon Holly tree as well. Can't wait to see it in the winter (female).

I can't find any Barberry Wilsonii Ace specific. Find lots of Japanese Barberry are they similar in coloring? I'd prefer something with green leaves in the summer.

rock_oak_deer (love the name btw) triggered something with the Abelia mention. I'm thinking the Rose Creek Abelia might work in this case. It is a little smaller in height than the hawthorne, but it is evergreen and deer resistant and butterflies and hummingbirds like it. What do you all think?

Does anybody have the Rose Creek Abelia? If so how do you like it?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 8:38AM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

I think my Abelia is the grandiflora and they do lose their leaves in Fall in my yard. The Rose Creek Abelia is pretty and the blooms appear to look a lot like Indian Hawthorn, so looks like it would sub nicely.

The Dwarf Yaupons in my yard have been here about 15 years. We cut them back a little this year, but they are still about 45" diameter and 36" high. They probably don't get much taller, but they do spread.

Maybe you could try Roselee's method before you give up on the Indian Hawthorn. Most of my neighbors don't even try to disguise their deer proofing contraptions. Some of it is pretty funny. One day there was a really awful smell coming from next door, turned out he had put some kind of deer repellent on the plants.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 11:46AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

I have Rose Creek abelia and I liked the form better than others. The regular ones are too wild looking for my taste.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 12:11PM
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We have a little baby girl who will soon be out exploring so I'm not too keen on the deer contraptions or anything we have to keep re-applying.

I did read the Rose Creek Abelia is evergreen whereas the other ones are only in higher zones.

lou_midlothia_tx is that true are they evergreen? Are they a lot of maintenance? Messy? Anything negative about them?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 1:56PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)


I would say semi-evergreen in my area that gets repeated freezes. They start growing early, I think in February and filled out by March. Very easy to grow. They may be evergreen in zone 8b. Definitely evergreen at my mom's in Houston (zone 9). They are great!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 6:00PM
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petzold6596(8b southern NM)

Just google 'barberry wilsonii 'Ace' '. That is how I found it. I'm buying four this fall from an on line source. I can't access my computer so I can't send you a link. Oh, they have green leaves with purplish hued flowers, not like any barberry I've seen before.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 6:26PM
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prairiepaintbrush(RedOak, TX z7/8)

I've always thought abelia was evergreen. It's evergreen in DFW, to my knowledge. The normal versions do get very large, but I looked up the one you mention and it looks lovely. Try it and let us know!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 9:31PM
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Well, they killed all my hawthornes, but the oleanders are safe. Cenizia ok. I'm thinking of casterbean trees, if I could find seed for next year, what pests those deer are!!!!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 9:26PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Rock Oak Deer

Thanks for the list. My parents in law live nearby Marble Fall and deer are everywhere. They don't have much landscaping to speak of...

Interesting to see that you put Japanese maple on the list. I wonder about shantung maple that i planted at my PIL's house. I built a barrier around it so male deer would not rub their alters on the trunk as I've seen them do that to other trees around the neighborhood. Do you leave your JM out in the open?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 10:18PM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

Lou - There are four JM's in my front yard in shade of the large oaks. The only one that is really out in the open is the Tamekuyama, weeping style and not good for antler rubbing. It's best to protect any small tree because even if the deer don't eat it, they can cause damage. They do prefer young, flexible trees for antlers. We had a Red Emperor JM about 3" diameter and 8' tall in the open at our last home. The deer never bothered it even while eating everything planted under it down to the ground.

It's in the background behind and to the right of JM Crimson Queen:

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 3:19PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)


Very nice! :) What type of soil do you have there for your JMs? I'm heading to my parents in law's house tomorrow to hang out with my wife and kid there this weekend. i'm curious about shantung maple and montezuma cypress that I planted there. They want me to plant bald cypress that i grew from seed this weekend... Great... H_O_T!

If you like maples but have too much sun, shantung maple is the best. Usually they are bright yellow fall color but 'Fire Dragon' will have red fall color.

Click on the picture to see rest of pictures... From Fire Dragon

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 7:36PM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

The photo in my post was taken in 2007 in Virginia. We had lots of deer there, so that's how I know that they ignore JM's.

Currently, all the JM's in my yard in San Antonio are either in raised beds or containers using a combination of purchased top soil and potting soil mix. I left Crimson Queen behind, but did import three Red Emperor seedlings to Texas when we moved here last year. JM's are one of my attempts at zone denial and it seems to be working so far.
Crimson Queen was replaced with the Tamekuyama which is apparently more suited to this climate.

Your Shantung Maples are beautiful. I'll have to see if I miss fall color over time. I am originally from Houston, so Texas seasons (basically hot and not quite as hot) are not that new to me.

btw - how does the grama grass look now? DH has reservations about the seed heads sticking up. Thinks he'll have to get the mower out more than once a year. We are about to go to stage 3 drought restrictions, lawn watering once every two weeks.

Have a good weekend, Marble Falls area is nice.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 9:17PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

While at Rainbow Gardens in San Antonio recently I looked for and found Rose Creek Abelia. It is beautiful; small, rounded, compact and blooming! Being deer proof (presumably) is an extra plus. What a neat little hedge plant it would make, as well as being a great single specimen!

BTW, the Abelia variety that is supposed to be extra colorful (forgot its name, kaleidoscope?) was not showing any color. Maybe it becomes colorful in the fall, or shows color in the spring. In any case, it was not compact like Rose Creek.

I will have to say I enjoy the larger size, form and extreme drought tolerance of the old fashioned Glossy abelia.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 10:06AM
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I don't live where deer are a problem but I heard (I think) that if you scatter human hair cuttings in flower beds and around perimiter that deer will smell humans and avoid the area
any truth to that

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 12:33AM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

Don't know if that works, but I looked it up and found that the recommendation is to place softball size wads of hair around the yard. Just picture it - yuck.

We try to create a landscape that all of us can enjoy, so I keep deer favorites on the deck and plant things they generally ignore in the yard.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 10:18AM
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just a follow up post about the Rose Creek Abelia
we planted two we found--they were not very common in the DFW TX area--at Flower Ranch...
they are staying fairly low, mounding type growth--they have yellow/red tinged leaves...
we did not baby them this winter when we had snow heavy--twice--and they came through it just fine--
they did lose most of their leaves over the winter though
currently they are not fully fleshed (but don't think abelias get as dense as say a hawthorne) but are definitely growing...
we have house that was about 5 yrs old when we bought it--the previous owners did really nothing to improve the planting beds--lots of heavy clay--
we had some compost/top soil added but the guy we hired did not really mix it deep enough---so hope their roots stay fairly shallow...

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 9:57AM
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Gardenia!!!!! I have tree varieties and they will not touch them. It's about all I plant other than junipers. I gave up spraying everything because it got too expensive. Gardenia's smell so good to us but the deer will not touch them. Try it and see. If you have found anything that they never touch, please let me know.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 8:46AM
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Since this post popped up again I figured I'd update. We replaced two of them with the rose creek abelia. Love those. I bought another one to place in a spot where something else won't grow to give it a try. It is my kind of bush. Fine with low water, always looks nice and blooming a lot. I'm going to use more of it when we start on the back part of the house. I love how shaped it stays by itself too.

I didn't need to replace the rest of the Hawthornes after I planted some Society garlic in front or right next to them on each side if there wasn't space in front. I've not had any deer issues with them since. So I'm keeping them as they are another low maintenance bush for me and seem to be low water as well. (Didn't think they were)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 1:19PM
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