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Columnar evergreen needed

Posted by dottyinduncan z8b coastal BC (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 23, 11 at 21:02

Any suggestions for a columnar evergreen that is deer resistant? It will be placed close to the house and in the wintertime the ground gets quite soggy when it rains. It does drain if the rain ever stops. A rose bush and a holly tree have survived in the same bed. Holly is now gone and I want to replace it with a nicer tree. Thanks in advance.


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RE: Columnar evergreen needed

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 24, 11 at 10:31

Maybe if the rose is not bothered by the damp a yew would make it. But as long as you don't fence out the deer, you will always have them deciding what you can do. "Must not be spoiled by deer" is a huge filter that really narrows down your choices, every time you want to add a new plant or planting.


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RE: Columnar evergreen needed

I know that bboy, but fencing is not possible. Property is too rugged and is on a lake and deer swim. I thought about a yew but when I googled Hick's Yew, people were complaining about deer damage. Perhaps they leave other types of yew alone? Of course they love roses but for some reason don't often go after this particular rose.


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RE: Columnar evergreen needed

Hick's yew is not particularly columnar - this gets quite wide and shrubby in habit as it matures. A fastigiate selection of yew may be more appropriate.

How tall does this plant need to be? If just a columnar evergreen is needed but not necessarily a tall needled evergreen (conifer), you might consider Euonymus 'Green Spire' or Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil'. Both stay quite narrow, are soil and shade tolerant but don't grow much above 6-8 feet over an extended period (could eventually grow taller).

Their deer resistance is arguable -- I have seen deer graze just about any plant if the mood suits them but these don't seem to be bothered to the same extent as say arborvitaes.


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RE: Columnar evergreen needed

Thanks Gardengal! I think Ilex Sky Pencil will be just fine -- I was looking at them at the nursery yesterday and like the roundedness of the leaves and 6 - 8 feet is perfect. I have an old ilex plant in another area and the deer haven't eaten it so perhaps they will leave this one alone too. Next visit to the nursery, one will be coming home with me.


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RE: Columnar evergreen needed

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 24, 11 at 17:23

There was a lot of damage to many examples of the enonymus (and other forms of the same species) in this area this past winter. I had a small 'Green Spire' shrivel up completely on Camano Island. And this was on a mound, with good drainage, a southerly aspect and partial protection from north winds.

I have seen Japanese holly growing spontaneously in a bog in Lynnwood, WA. It is also said to grow natively with star magnolia in bogs in Hokkaido. So it can definitely take dampness, at least in some situations.

In other places it can be bothered by impeded drainage. The same is true of Thuja occidentalis. Wet places vary in their characteristics, the same kind of plant can both grow in swamps and be killed by poor drainage in other locations.


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RE: Columnar evergreen needed

I purchased an Ilex today. We might have to do some sort of a drain to take away the runoff water from drowning plants in the wintertime. Thanks for your help, it is appreciated.


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