What Type of Arborvitae Do Deer Not Eat: A Guide to Deer-Resistant Arborvitae Varieties

If you’re a gardener or landscaper living in areas where deer are a common sight, your landscape design choices will greatly be influenced by the types of plants that deer are known to not eat. Knowing this, it’s crucial that you choose plants that will not only withstand the harsh weather conditions but also repel deer from eating them. In this article, we’ll focus on the type of arborvitae that deer won’t touch.

While deer are known to feed on a variety of plants, there are a few species that they absolutely steer clear of. Arborvitae plants, which are native to North America, are one of the top choices for landscapers looking to create a deer-resistant landscape. In areas where deer are known to be a problem, planting arborvitae can save you a lot of time, money, and effort in the long run.

Arborvitae plants come in different varieties, but if you’re looking to keep deer at bay, you’ll want to go for the Emerald Green Arborvitae. This variety is a hardy, fast-growing evergreen that keeps its vibrant green color throughout the year. Its dense foliage is also ideal for creating a natural fence, making it perfect for property lines and privacy hedges. Not only is it a beautiful plant, but it’s also highly effective at repelling deer, making it a go-to choice for gardeners and landscapers alike.

Arborvitae Overview

Arborvitae, also known as Thuja, are a popular evergreen tree or shrub commonly found in North America. They are valued for their beautiful foliage, which ranges from light green to dark green and often changes throughout the year. Arborvitae are also known for their versatility, as they can be used as hedges, privacy screens, or as stand-alone trees in gardens and landscapes.

One of the biggest challenges that gardeners face when planting arborvitae is deer damage. Deer can be extremely destructive to arborvitae, causing irreparable damage to branches, trunks, and roots. However, not all types of arborvitae are equally vulnerable to deer damage. Some varieties are more resistant to browsing than others.

Top Deer Resistant Arborvitae

  • Emerald Green: This variety is highly resistant to deer damage and is a great choice for those looking for an arborvitae that is easy to maintain. It has a narrow, pyramidal shape and bright green foliage that stays green throughout the year.
  • Techny: This arborvitae is also known for its deer resistance, making it an excellent choice for gardeners who are concerned about deer damage. It has a dense, conical shape and dark green needles that turn brown in the winter.
  • Hetz Midget: Despite its small size, Hetz Midget has proven to be highly resistant to deer browsing. It has a compact, globe-shaped form and soft, bright green foliage.

Factors that Affect Deer Browsing

While some types of arborvitae are more resistant to deer damage than others, there are also other factors that can affect how likely deer are to browse on a particular tree.

One of the main factors is the availability of other food sources. If there are limited food sources available, deer are more likely to browse on arborvitae. Additionally, deer may be more likely to browse on arborvitae during the winter months when their natural food sources are scarce.

The age and size of the tree can also affect how likely it is to be browsed. Younger, smaller trees are more vulnerable to deer damage than larger, more established trees.


Arborvitae are beautiful and versatile trees that can provide a variety of benefits to gardens and landscapes. While deer damage can be a concern, there are several types of arborvitae that are highly resistant to browsing, such as Emerald Green, Techny, and Hetz Midget.

Type of Arborvitae Deer Resistance Growth Rate Mature Height
Emerald Green High Medium 15-20 ft
Techny High Slow 10-15 ft
Hetz Midget High Slow 3-5 ft

When selecting an arborvitae, it’s important to consider not just its deer resistance but also factors such as growth rate, mature height, and overall appearance. By taking a careful and thoughtful approach to arborvitae selection, gardeners can enjoy these beautiful trees for years to come.

Common Issues with Deer and Arborvitae

Deer can be a major nuisance for homeowners who have arborvitae on their property. These animals are notorious for their voracious appetite for arborvitae foliage, which can quickly devastate your privacy screen or windbreak. Here are some of the common issues that you should be aware of if you have arborvitae:

  • Deer browsing: Deer are the most common pests that affect arborvitae. They will eat the foliage, bark, and small twigs of arborvitae trees and shrubs. This feeding habit can quickly defoliate or even kill the entire plant, which can be very costly to replace.
  • Behavior cycles: Deer have specific behavior cycles that are important to understand. They generally feed at night and early morning, which is why homeowners may not notice the damage until it’s too late. They also tend to graze in the same areas over and over again.
  • Deer population: The increasing deer population is another issue for homeowners with arborvitae. As suburban areas develop, deer have less habitat, which means they are more likely to enter residential properties in search of food.

What Type of Arborvitae Do Deer Not Eat?

While deer can eat almost any type of arborvitae, there are a few cultivars that are more deer-resistant than others. These arborvitae have a stronger aroma and flavor that deer don’t like, making them less attractive to these animals:

The following are a few arborvitae cultivars that deer tend to avoid:

Arborvitae Name Details
Emerald Green One of the most popular varieties, it has a dense foliage that deer do not like. It grows up to 15 feet tall, making it an excellent choice for a hedge or screen.
Hetz Midget This cultivar can grow up to 4 feet tall and has a broad and dense form that makes it an excellent choice for foundation plantings or garden borders. It has a strong scent that deters deer from feeding.
Techny This cultivar is hardy and adaptable and can grow up to 30 feet tall, making it a favorite for screening large properties. It has a strong aroma that deer don’t like.

While these cultivars are less palatable to deer, it’s important to note that no plant is completely deer-proof. You may still need to take some preventative measures to protect your arborvitae from deer browsing, such as using deer repellents or fencing off the area.

Arborvitae Varieties that Deer Avoid

Arborvitaes are a popular choice for landscaping due to their beautiful, conical shape, and their ability to provide privacy. However, they are also a favorite food of deer. If you have deer in your area, you might want to consider planting arborvitaes that they are less likely to nibble on. Here are some of the arborvitae varieties that deer avoid:

Top 3 Arborvitae Varieties that Deer Avoid

  • Green Giant Arborvitae: This arborvitae variety is the most popular because it is easy to grow, has a fast growth rate, and is naturally resistant to disease and pests. Another major advantage of the Green Giant arborvitae is that deer do not find them appetizing.
  • Hetz Midget Arborvitae: This is a great choice if you are looking for a compact, slow-growing arborvitae that can be used as a hedge or border. Deer tend to avoid this variety because it has a strong odor that they find unpleasant.
  • North Pole Arborvitae: This arborvitae variety is narrow and upright, making it a great choice for small spaces. It also has a natural resistance to deer thanks to its strong scent and thick foliage.

Other Arborvitae Varieties that Deer Tend to Avoid

While the above three varieties are the most reliable choices if you want to keep deer away from your arborvitaes, there are a few others that you might want to consider:

  • Emerald Green Arborvitae: This popular variety is often used as a hedge or screen because of its fast growth and dense green foliage. While deer do tend to avoid it, they will eat Emerald Green arborvitaes if they are particularly hungry.
  • Techny Arborvitae: This is another popular arborvitae variety that is known for its dense foliage and broad, conical shape. While not completely deer-resistant, they do tend to avoid it in favor of tastier options.

Factors that Affect Deer Resistance

There are a few factors that can affect how likely it is that deer will eat your arborvitaes. Some of these include:

  • Foliage density and texture
  • Scent and taste of the foliage
  • The age and size of the plant

If you live in an area with a lot of deer, it’s important to choose arborvitaes that are less attractive to them. Choosing the right variety can help you maintain a beautiful, healthy arborvitae hedge or screen without having to worry about hungry deer.

Arborvitae Variety Deer Resistance
Green Giant High
Hetz Midget Medium
North Pole High
Emerald Green Medium
Techny Medium

As you can see from the table above, some arborvitae varieties are more deer-resistant than others. However, it’s important to remember that no arborvitae is completely immune to deer damage.

Landscape Design with Deer-Resistant Arborvitae

Arborvitae is one of the best options for landscaping purposes, especially in areas with deer issues. These deer-resistant trees are easy to grow, maintain, and can provide an attractive backdrop for any outdoor space. If you’re looking for the perfect arborvitae that will act as a natural barrier to those problematic deer, then this article is your go-to.

Top 4 Types of Arborvitae that Deer Do Not Eat

  • Emerald Green Arborvitae
  • One of the most popular arborvitaes, the Emerald Green variety has a narrow, pyramidal shape and sprouts flat branches highlighted with rich green needles. Its compact shape makes it perfect for privacy hedges or boundary walls. Additionally, deer usually overlook this type of evergreen because of its natural pungent smell.

  • Nigra Arborvitae
  • The Nigra Arborvitae, also known as the Black Arborvitae, is prevalently used to create natural screens due to its height. This arborvitae can grow up to 10 to 15 feet tall and 5 to 10 feet wide. Its dense growth and dark green foliage make it an excellent option for creating a sturdy barrier zone against deer while adding a classic touch to your landscape.

  • Hetz Midget Arborvitae
  • The Hetz Midget is a dwarf arborvitae, known for its slow growth and easy maintenance. It has a flattened globe-shaped canopy that can grow up to 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide. If you’re looking for a compact, deer-resistant option that can fit in small spaces, then Hetz Midget may be the perfect choice.

  • Technito Arborvitae
  • The Technito Arborvitae features dark green foliage that retains its color throughout the year. This arborvitae has does well in most soil types, is heat tolerant, and can grow up to 15 feet tall. Its narrow and upright growth habit makes it excellent for privacy screens and a natural barrier against deer invasion.

Factors to Consider When Landscaping with Arborvitae

When considering landscaping with arborvitae, there are several essential factors to keep in mind. First and foremost, some deer-resistant arborvitae may still be susceptible to deer damage in areas with high populations of deer. Therefore, it’s crucial to plant them in the right location. Secondly, you need to choose the right size and shape to ensure they’ll fit in well with your existing landscape. Lastly, be sure to use a well-drained soil with the proper depth for planting arborvitae to ensure they thrive in their new environment.


Deer-proofing your garden or landscape can be a challenging task, but incorporating deer-resistant arborvitae can make the job a lot easier. These evergreen trees can provide beauty, privacy, and a natural barrier to keep those pesky deer at bay. Choose the right arborvitae for your needs and your landscape, and you’re guaranteed to enjoy a beautiful, deer-free outdoor space!

Type of Arborvitae Height (Feet) Width (Feet) Foliage Color
Emerald Green 15-20 3-4 Rich dark green
Nigra Arborvitae 10-15 5-10 Dark green
Hetz Midget 3-4 3-5 Bright green
Technito 10-15 3-4 Dark green

(Table source: https://www.homesteadgardens.com/arborvitae-trees-varieties/)

Companion Planting for Arborvitae Protection

Deer can be a significant threat to your arborvitae plants. They can cause extensive damage to your garden and even kill your beloved plants. It’s essential to take measures to protect your arborvitae from these pesky animals. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do this is through companion planting. Companion planting is a technique that involves planting certain species of plants together to enhance growth, repel pests, and improve the overall health of your garden.

  • Lavender: This beautiful plant has a strong fragrance that repels deer. Plant lavender near your arborvitae to keep these animals away.
  • Boxwood: Boxwood is a versatile plant that can be used in various ways to protect your arborvitae. Planting boxwood around your arborvitae forms a protective barrier, and the smell repels deer. You can also use boxwood leaves to make a spray to deter deer.
  • Rosemary: Rosemary gives off a strong scent that is unappealing to deer. Plant it around your arborvitae to keep them at bay.

The Benefits of Companion Planting

Aside from protecting your arborvitae from deer, companion planting has numerous benefits:

  • Pest control: Some plants release chemicals that repel pests, while others attract beneficial insects that eat the harmful ones.
  • Improved soil health: Certain plants can improve soil health by returning nutrients back into it.
  • Increase yields: Planting compatible species together can increase the yield of your crops.

Plants to Avoid Planting Near Arborvitae

While companion planting can be an effective way to protect your arborvitae, there are certain plants you should avoid pairing with them. Some plants have a negative impact on the growth and development of your arborvitae, including:

  • Spreading juniper: Spreading juniper harbors spider mites, which can damage your arborvitae.
  • Evergreen huckleberry: Evergreen huckleberry hosts a fungus that can cause root rot in your arborvitae.
  • Black walnut: Black walnut produces a toxin called juglone that is harmful to a wide variety of plants, including arborvitae.
Plants that Repel Deer Plants to Avoid Near Arborvitae
Lavender Spreading Juniper
Boxwood Evergreen Huckleberry
Rosemary Black Walnut

Companion planting is an easy and natural way to protect your arborvitae from deer while enhancing the overall health of your garden. By choosing the right companion plants and avoiding incompatible ones, you can ensure your arborvitae thrive for years to come.

Tips for Protecting Arborvitae from Deer Damage

Deer can cause considerable damage to arborvitae or Eastern white cedar trees, especially during the winter or early spring when other food sources are scarce. However, there are some varieties of arborvitae that deer do not like to eat, making them ideal for landscaping in deer-infested areas. Here, we will discuss the type of arborvitae that deer do not eat, and how to protect your arborvitae from deer damage.

Arborvitae Varieties that Deer Do Not Eat

  • Emerald Green Arborvitae: This popular arborvitae variety is resistant to deer damage due to its strong scent and bitter taste.
  • Hetz Midget Arborvitae: This dwarf arborvitae variety is also deer-resistant due to its strong scent and bitter taste.
  • Nigra Arborvitae: This slow-growing arborvitae variety has a strong smell that deer do not like.

Protecting Arborvitae from Deer Damage

While these arborvitae varieties are deer-resistant, it is still important to take measures to protect your trees from deer damage, especially during the winter months when other food sources are scarce. Here are some tips to prevent deer from damaging your arborvitae:

  • Use repellents: Chemical or natural deer repellents can be sprayed on the trees to deter deer from approaching them. However, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions and apply the repellents according to the recommended dosage.
  • Install physical barriers: Fencing, netting, or other physical barriers can be installed around the trees to prevent deer from accessing them. However, make sure to create a barrier that is tall enough to keep deer out.
  • Choose strategic locations: You can also plant your arborvitae in areas that are less attractive to deer, such as near other evergreen trees or shrubs.
Method Pros Cons
Repellents Easy to use, cost-effective, and can be applied to large areas. May need to be reapplied regularly, and some repellents may not work on all types of deer.
Physical barriers Effective at keeping deer away from trees, especially if they are tall and strong. May be expensive, difficult to install, and may affect the aesthetics of your landscape.
Strategic location Can be an effective long-term solution, and may have other landscaping benefits. May not work in all areas, and may limit your planting options.

By choosing deer-resistant arborvitae varieties and implementing these protective measures, you can enjoy the beauty and benefits of arborvitae trees without worrying about damage from deer.

Benefits of Using Deer-Resistant Arborvitae in Landscaping Projects

Deer have an insatiable appetite and can wreak havoc on landscaping projects. However, not all arborvitae are created equal. Some varieties are more deer-resistant than others, making them a great choice for landscaping projects. Here are some benefits of using deer-resistant arborvitae in your landscaping:

  • Less Damage: As mentioned, deer-resistant arborvitae can help reduce damage to your landscaping. When other plants are stripped bare, these arborvitae can remain standing strongly.
  • Low-Maintenance: Deer-resistant arborvitae are easy to care for and require minimal maintenance.
  • Year-Round Greenery: These plants hold their green foliage year-round, providing a beautiful and consistent look to your landscaping through all seasons.

If you’re still unsure about which variety of arborvitae to choose for your landscaping, consult the following table for a comparison of popular arborvitae types and their deer-resistance levels:

Arborvitae Type Deer-Resistance Level
American Arborvitae High
Emerald Green Arborvitae High
North Pole Arborvitae High
Green Giant Arborvitae Medium
Techny Arborvitae Medium

Overall, selecting the right type of arborvitae can save your landscaping projects from hungry deer. Choose deer-resistant arborvitae for less maintenance and a consistent look year-round.

What Type of Arborvitae Do Deer Not Eat FAQs

1. What is Arborvitae?

Arborvitae is a popular evergreen tree or shrub that is commonly used as a landscaping plant. Its needles and branches are usually soft and feathery, and the tree can grow up to 60 feet tall.

2. What types of Arborvitae do deer eat?

Deer can eat any type of Arborvitae, but they have their preferences. They avoid heavy aromatic arborvitae varieties such as Thujopsis dolobrata.

3. What is the name of the Arborvitae that deer don’t eat?

The Arborvitae variety that deer do not eat is called Emerald Green Arborvitae.

4. Why do deer avoid Emerald Green Arborvitae?

Emerald Green Arborvitae has a natural insect repelling characteristic thus making it hard for deer to eat it.

5. How tall can an Emerald Green Arborvitae grow?

Emerald Green Arborvitae can grow up to a height of 15 feet.

6. Where can I plant Emerald Green Arborvitae?

Emerald Green Arborvitae thrives in USDA Hardiness Zones 2 through 8, and it needs full sun to partial shade to grow successfully.

7. How can I protect other Arborvitae from deer?

You can protect other Arborvitae from deer by using a deer repellent spray, fencing, or planting along with deer-resistant plants.

Closing Words

We hope that these FAQs were useful to you in determining what type of Arborvitae deer do not eat. Emerald Green Arborvitae makes an excellent choice for those looking for a deer-resistant landscaping plant. Thank you for reading and visit us again for more gardening tips!