As every homeowner knows, deer can be a major landscape menace.
Unfortunately, few plants are fully deer-proof, although there are
several plant varieties that deer will generally leave alone. But
in certain situations, such as drought or hard winters, deer may
eat things they would otherwise leave alone - as hungry deer tend
to eat anything that lies in their path. However, there are landscaping
strategies, repellants and deer resistant plants (generally deer
resistant anyway) that homeowners can incorporate to lessen the
chances that deer will decide your yard is their own fine dining
To begin, look around your landscape and the neighboring areas.
Are there any particular plants that the deer tend to leave alone?
Have neighbors in the area had particular success with any one type
of deer repellant or strategy? Look around for deer pathways. Try
to avoid plantings where deer generally travel. Even consider installing
additional hardscaping structures (such as boulders, rocks, gravel,
stepping stones) into these areas. One note of caution, don't plant
deer resistant plant varieties around more desirable plants to try
and wart off the deer. Deer tend to trample the untasty plant varieties
to get to their favorites.
Fencing. When deer pressure is extreme, the best way to deter deer
may be to install a fence. An effective deer fence must be tall
(at least 7 feet) and/or electrified. However, fencing the entire
area may not be practical or feasible. Instead you may want to fence
in (or cage) individual or specimen plants to protect them. This
can be done by entirely covering the plant with chicken wire type
fencing or a lightweight birdnetting. Or, you can place a wire mesh
on the ground around the plant as deer tend to avoid stepping on
wire mesh. Some people have had good luck with using a motion detector
which sets off a light or water sprinkler when deer activate the
sensor. This trains the deer to avoid that area.
Deer Resistant Trees
Ironwood Ostrya virginiana
Deer Resistant Shrubs
New Jersey Tea
Witch Hazel Hamamelis
Deer Resistant Vines