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 cracked corn. Solutions to deer issues are difficult and varied.
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. Video of deer damage and protective measures
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 with their gardening activities. There are basically three strategies:
HIGH BROWSE RISK (aka “Deer salad”)
Arborvitae, Daylilies, Euonymus, Hosta, Tulips, Yews
LOW BROWSE RISK:
> Trees – Ash, Beech, Birch, Colorado Blue Spruce, Dogwood, Elm, Gingko, Hawthorn, Honeylocust, Larch, Linden, London Plane, Magnolia, Maple, Oak, Redbud, Spruce, Sweetgum, Tulip Tree, Willow, Zelkova
> Shrubs – Barberry, Bayberry, Boxwood, Cotoneaster, Drooping Leucothoe, Forsythia, Hydrangea, Japanese plum yew, Junipers, Lilac, Mahonia, Mugho Pine, Pieris Japonica, Potentilla, Privet, Pyracantha, Russian Olive, Spirea, Viburnum, Weigela
> Other plants – Ageratum, Ajuga, Aster, Astilbe, Tuberous Begonia, Bleeding Heart, Purple Coneflower, Crocus, Daffodils, Dahlia, Blue Fescue, Foxglove, Gazania, Geranium, Iris, Lavender, Lamb’s Ear, Calla Lily, Miscanthus, Pachysandra, Peony, Creeping Phlox, Poppy, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Sedum, Snapdragons, Strawflower, Verbena, Veronica
NOTE: Rabbits and other wildlife 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. Mice often chew the trunks of plants, another reason to hold mulches back from the trunks of plants.
Tree FAQ – Answers to your tree questions
Tree fertilization – How and when to fertilize
Tree valuation – How much are trees worth?