Plants not favored by deer
Tagged as: not favored by deer
There are few things more frustrating to a gardener than having deer dine on much-cherished plants. Even if you are prepared to tolerate deer damage because you think these animals are picturesque, take heed. Deer are creatures of habit. Once they perceive your garden as a safe and delectable haven, they will visit regularly.
An increase in white-tailed deer populations and a decrease of their natural habitat have set up a situation in home landscapes, near woodlands where palatable ornamental plants become alternative food sources for deer. When winter approaches and food sources become less available, feeding on leaves, stems, and buds of woody plants becomes more apparent. Male deer also cause damage by rutting or rubbing their antlers along the stems or trunks of trees and stripping off bark.
Deer should be discouraged immediately when they first appear. Young trees and shrubs can suffer permanent damage from deer browsing. Deer damage is usually identified by the torn or jagged appearance of branches or twigs compared to the clean-cut feeding damage caused by rabbits and squirrels.
How, exactly, do you discourage deer? There are four basic options:
- Fencing. You can physically restrict deer by enclosing your entire yard or garden in fencing at least six feet tall. If you only have a few trees or shrubs to protect, you can put barrier fencing around these individual plants. Cost and aesthetics are the major drawbacks to this option.
- Repellents. Homemade and commercial repellents are common control methods to discourage deer, but their effectiveness and success are based on several factors. Most have a bitter taste or foul odor, which discourage deer from feeding. Snow and rainfall can dissipate some materials so reapplication is frequently needed. Some repellents simply do not weather well even without rain. If food sources are scarce, deer may simply ignore the repellents, despite the taste or odor.
- Predators. A large, noisy dog is a good deer deterrent. If you don't have a dog, you can hang shiny tape or strips from branches, or place inflated balls, whirlygigs, or other moving objects in the yard to startle deer with sudden movement. You'll have to rotate these frequently, however, or deer will soon realize that they are not in danger from these objects.
- Deer-resistant plants. If they are hungry enough and food is scarce enough, deer will eat almost anything. However, there are a number of plants that deer don't find particularly palatable. Using these plants in your landscape is often the most cost-effective, least time- consuming, and most aesthetically pleasing solution.
In this pamphlet, we offer a list of trees and shrubs not favored by deer. However, deer-browsing resistance of any plant species may change due to fluctuations in deer populations, alternative food availability, and environmental factors.
Gardening in Deer Country, Bernard, Karen J., Croton-on-Hudson, New York, N.Y., 1991. Deer Proofing Your Yard & Garden, Hart, Rhonda Massingham, Pownal, VT, 1997.
- Sassafras 96%
Botanical Name: Sassafras albidumCommon Name: Sassafras Updated 12/2012 Click on an image to enlarge Fall form Leaves Fall color Winter form Bark Click on an image to...
- Carolina-Allspice 96%
Botanical Name: Calycanthus floridusCommon Name: Common Sweetshrub, Carolina-Allspice Updated 2/2012 Form Flower Fall leaves Leaf Fruit Click on an image to...
- Leatherwood 96%
Botanical Name: Dirca palustris*Common Name: Leatherwood Updated 3/2012 Form Flower Leaf Leaf in fall Click on image to enlarge.Height: 5-8' ...
- Thornless Honey Locust 96%
Botanical Name: Gleditsia triacanthos f. inermis Common Name: Thornless Honey Locust* Updated 4/2012 Click on an image to enlarge Form Fall form Leaf Fall leaf Fruit Bark Height: 40-70'...
- Redbud 94%
Botanical Name: Cercis canadensis Common Name: Redbud Updated 2/2012 Click on an image to enlarge flowers fall color fruits bark Height: 15-20' Spread: 20-25' Habit/Form: Rounded to...
- Spicebush 92%
Botanical Name: Lindera benzoin *Common Name: Spicebush Updated 10/2012 Click on image to enlarge Winter form Fall form Fall leaf Fruit Bark Height:...