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Conifers for Clay Soil


In the table below are conifers that perform very well in clay soil in our area. The table includes the basic information needed to help you site these plants properly. It also includes information on deer resistance and rabbit resistance. So far, I haven't seen deer in my garden and the deer information is from various sources that I have collected over the years. The rabbit resistance information is based on my own garden experience as I always seem to find plenty of rabbits in my garden. Here's how to interpret the information:

  • For both Deer Resistant and Rabbit Resistant headings:
    • yes - the plant is not usually eaten. It's possible, though, in some years the pest may eat the plant.
    • no info - there is no definite statement as to the plant's resistance.
    • no - the plant is eaten. Young plants may be eaten though.
    • favorite food - the plant is definitely eaten.
  • Light Requirement heading:
    • sun - 6 or more hours of direct sun each day.
    • pt sh - up to 6 hours of direct sun each day.
    • sun to pt sh - must have some direct sun each day. Flowers better in more direct sun.
    • shade - no direct sunlight.
    • pt sh to shade - less than 6 hours of direct sun to no direct sunlight.
    • sun to shade - will grow in any amount of light.
  • Soil Requirements heading:
    • moist - soil does not dry out quickly.
    • organic - soil has leaf mold or compost or other organic amendment.
    • well drained - soil does not remain soggy and rot the plant's roots.
    • infertile - opposite of organic - lacking soil amendments.


Botanical Name-Common Name Deer Resistant Rabbit Resistant Light Requirement Soil Requirements
Chamaecyparis obtusa - Hinoki Falsecypress yes yes sun moist, well drained
Chamaecyparis pisifera - Sawara Falsecypress yes yes sun moist, well drained
Cryptomeria japonica - Japanese Cedar yes yes sun to pt sh moist, organic
Juniperus horizontalis 'Pfitzers' - Pfitzer's Juniper yes yes sun well drained
Juniperus procumbens 'Nana' - Dwarf Garden Juniper yes yes sun to pt sh well drained
Picea abies 'Nidiformis' - Bird's Nest Spruce yes yes sun moist, well drained
Pinus strobus - Eastern White Pine no yes sun moist, organic, well drained
Taxodium distichum - Common Baldcypress no info yes sun moist, well drained
Thuja - Arborvitae no yes sun moist, organic, well drained
Tsuga canadensis - Canadian Hemlock no yes sun to pt sh moist, organic, well drained

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