Whitetail deer are becoming more common around home landscapes as their natural habitat continues to disappear in favor of housing plans and commercial development.
To the chagrin of many homeowners, deer are quite comfortable wandering around their yards browsing on foundation plantings, flowers and vegetable plants. Other homeowners enjoy the presence of deer in their yards, encouraging them with salt blocks and dried cracked corn. Solutions to deer issues are difficult and varied.
DEER CULLING OR BIRTH CONTROL
Proponents of deer control are concerned about damage to their ornamental and garden plants, the injury and property risks involved with hitting deer on highways and the argument that overabundant deer populations will lead to their starvation in the winter due to a lack of adequate plants for deer browse.
Bucks mark their territory by rubbing tree trunks with their foreheads and antlers to apply a scent from glands in their foreheads, causing extensive damage to tree trunks.
Wherever one stands on the deer issue, gardeners these days must be VERY conscious of potential deer damage if they hope to have much success at all with their gardening activities. There are basically three strategies:
HIGH BROWSE RISK ("Deer salad")
Arborvitae, Daylilies, Euonymus, Hosta, Tulips, Yews
LOW BROWSE RISK:
NOTE: Rabbits will browse on some plants that deer leave alone. When protecting a plant from rabbits in the winter, be sure to allow for their "added reach" due to snow depth acting as "elevator shoes" or "stilts" for the rabbits.