Gardening with deer presents a unique set of challenges. Those of us familiar with the battle know how difficult it can be to have a beautiful garden in deer territory. As the white-tailed deer population in the east and the mule deer population in the west expand, and suburbia continues to encroach on their territory, deer have become more and more problematic for gardeners. Each herd eats differently, so gardening with deer requires patience and experimentation. But most of all, it requires a willingness to be flexible in your plant choices and deer management techniques.
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Gardening Help Search. White-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, have become garden and landscape pests in many parts of the country. Encroachment of their habitat by suburban and urban development, reduced hunting, and the absence of natural predators have all added to the problem. In the wild, deer will eat the buds, leaves, and stems of many woody plants. In gardens they will eat these as well as a variety of garden plants. Patterns of damage vary from year to year depending on weather, food availability, deer population density, and other factors.
Deer can be observed browsing during the day but feed mostly at night when they often are not directly observed. Torn leaves or stalks with ragged edges are common as deer tear or jerk plants when feeding.
Rabbits, woodchucks, and other small animals usually leave cleanly cut plant remains. Male deer bucks can also injure plants when they rub their antlers on trees. Saplings are especially vulnerable. Signs are vertical scrapes and shredded bark on saplings, exposing the wood. Develop a plan. Implementing a complete deercontrol program at once can be difficult.
Instead, develop a long-term plan and phase it in over time. Consider problems with deer as one of your landscape design considerations and provide barriers or fencing where control is critical.
Consult with your local municipality about their deer control program. Alter the habitat. Deer prefer to feed at the edge of woods or other cover. Locate desirable plants as far as possible from woods, brush, or other areas where deer are known to be. Deer will eat nearly any plant if they are under sufficient pressure, such as extended snow cover or overcrowding, so assume that any plant could be damaged or destroyed under some conditions.
Nevertheless, it is prudent to use plants that are considered less favored by deer. See the plant list which follows.
Scare devices. Many scare devices are noisy, and therefore are not feasible in typical suburban or urban settings. Under nearly any circumstances, such devices soon lose their effectiveness because deer learn that they are not to be feared.
A dog is a good deterrent, but comes with its own care and containment issues. Containing a dog with an "invisible fence" device often provides an adequate solution if the area to be managed is not too large. Repel the deer. They usually are water-soluble, so require reapplication regularly. Further, they may not work when food is scarce.
However, new materials are constantly being introduced, so it is prudent to stay aware of changing circumstances and to share knowledge with others who find themselves in similar circumstances. The following are some commercially available products that have proven to be effective. When using chemicals, read labels carefully and follow directions completely.
Labeled for use on fruit trees before flowering, ornamental shrubs and trees, it is a relatively long-lasting. Hinder Ammonium soaps of higher fatty acids This is one of the few repellents labeled for use on edible crops.
However, it washes off with rain. It is used most often on dormant trees and shrubs. Ropel 0. It is not recommended for edible crops. These products have been reported to be inconsistently effective but may be worth trying. Tankage This product is putrefied meat scraps that can be placed in perforated cans and attached to 4-foot stakes near each shrub or tree to be protected.
Human Hair Human hair can be used in the same way as tankage. Place the hair in mesh bags and hang them on stakes near each shrub or tree to be protected. Exclude the deer. Exclusion of deer is the only consistently effective control measure available.
Because this solution is expensive as well as demanding, it is suggested that detailed instructions be used. The document can be viewed by clicking here. Special Note: Deer are managed and protected as game animals. Missouri, as well as most other states, and many municipalities have deer control programs.
It would be useful to discuss any deer problems with such authorities before undertaking extensive control measures. Missouri Botanical Garden. Butterfly House. Shaw Nature Reserve.
The Garden. Things To Know. Family of Attractions. Top Attractions. Our Garden. Your Garden. Gardening in St. Plant Conservation. Plant Science. Additional Information. Garden Design. Fruit Gardening. Vegetable Gardening. Gardening by Month. Pests and problems. Gardening Help FAQs. Visual Guides. Buck deer White-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, have become garden and landscape pests in many parts of the country. Symptoms and Diagnosis Deer can be observed browsing during the day but feed mostly at night when they often are not directly observed.
Integrated Pest Management Strategies 1. Bar Soap Drill holes in bars of soap and hang them on stakes near each shrub or tree. More images: The leafless stalks sticking up next to these other hostas are all that remains of a third hosta after a deer finished eating it Deer damage on hosta; note, ragged torn edges of leaf stalks typical of deer feeding habits Buck deer Drought results in hungry and thirsty deer, like this doe.
Pest and Problems. Click a link in the site map below to see other "Pests and Problems" pages. Thank You! Main Navigation Visit. Things To Do. Missouri Botanical Garden Shaw Blvd. Sign up for our e-newsletter.
Virginia Creeper Parthenocissus Wisteria Wisteria. The leafless stalks sticking up next to these other hostas are all that remains of a third hosta after a deer finished eating it. Deer damage on hosta; note, ragged torn edges of leaf stalks typical of deer feeding habits. Drought results in hungry and thirsty deer, like this doe.
Damage to juniper trunks Juniperus by deer antlers; note vertical scrapes and shredded bark. Damage to juniper trunks Juniperus by deer antlers; note shredded bark and broken branches. Deer damage to Swedish aspen Populus. Deer damage on arborvitae Thuja occidentalis. Deer damage to a small yew Taxus plant.
Deer browsing in Maryland causes thousands of dollars of damage to residential and commercial landscapes, as well as home vegetable gardens and commercial crops. While summertime deer browsing is bad enough, winter can be worse. Deer population levels have traditionally been kept in check by their predators. When those predators — such as bobcats, wolves, and coyotes — disappear, deer populations immediately rise. The big predators lose their roaming habitat when development clears forests and fragments the remaining areas.
Deer love tulips and will eat all of your beautiful flowers in one night. If you want tulips, plant them as close to the house as possible sodeer are reluctant.
If you get discouraged when deer chomp away at your garden, know that growers and garden centers have the same problems. They both work well, he said. Make sure you watch your plants closely and spray the repellent on preventively. You need to spray the part of the plant the deer might eat. For example, if you sprayed the leaves of a daylily and now the plant is getting flowers, spray those buds before they become a deer delicacy. The repellents suggest that you should spray them once a month. While they will stay on after a light rain, you should reapply after a gully washer, Yadon said. And reapply as soon as possible after the rain— The deer seem to know that after a hard rain, the plants will be tasty again.
Michele Warmund University of Missouri warmundm missouri. With spring just around the corner, plants will soon be budding out. While gardeners welcome spring, other unwelcome "guests" typically arrive, including deer. During this time, deer feed on grass, plant buds and shoots, and fleshy fruit. Does need plenty of food in early spring to produce their fawns.
Your neighbors call and tell you how much they enjoy watching the deer and rabbits playing in your garden.
The succulent plants you so carefully tend in your garden are like an oasis in a desert—a feast for the eyes and stomach, waiting to be harvested at just the right time. Sometimes, though, the fruits of your labor are prematurely usurped by a garden intruder impressed by what it sees as a gourmet, all-you-can-eat buffet. Gardens and landscaping around our old Kentucky homes often include plants that provide wildlife a very high quality food source, Springer explained. They are more tender and have more nutrition and water content. Springer, University of Kentucky. Mount plastic insulators on inch wooden, fiberglass, or metal stakes.
Make a donation. Several species of deer, especially roe and muntjac, can visit gardens and feed on a wide range of plants. They will strip flowers and foliage and can damage tree bark. Deer are mammals, usually living in woodland or scrubby areas from where they make forays into gardens. They may visit gardens singly but often several animals will be feeding on the plants. Deer will feed on a very wide range of plants, with runner bean, beetroot, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, evergreen azaleas, camellia, roses, holly, ivy, rhododendron, Viburnum tinus , hardy geraniums, Sedum , tulip and grape hyacinth often being heavily damaged.
deer will treat your yard like an all-you-can-eat buffet. These shrubs, perennials, and annuals are less palatable to Bambi and.
Deer can cause a great deal of damage to a garden in a very short time. Excluding deer from your property using fences is very expensive. Repellents can work, but need to be reapplied regularly. One of the easiest and most cost-effective way to minimize the impact deer have on your landscape is to plant deer resistant plants and avoid using plants that deer are known to prefer.
I noticed that there seem to be a lot of articles out there to educate people on which plants are resistant to deer, but not so much on telling which plants deer love to eat, or what to avoid if that is not your intention. As in, the deer will eat these to the ground. So, I decided that it is time to put the warning out there. Now, obviously deer will eat a lot of different plants, and how picky they are will depend on how many options they have.
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Two species common in Montana — the white-tailed deer and the mule deer — eat flowers and foliage in summer and browse on tender buds in winter. Even urban gardens are vulnerable to deer damage. Deer typically feed at night, with a single adult capable of consuming from five to ten pounds of garden plants per night. Utilizing deer resistant plants in the landscape is a good first line of defense. Just remember, no plant is completely deer proof, as a hungry deer will consume almost any plant!
The following is a list of landscape plants rated according to their resistance to deer damage. Realizing that no plant is deer proof, plants in the Rarely Damaged , and Seldom Severely Damaged categories would be best for landscapes prone to deer damage. Plants Occasionally Severely Damaged and Frequently Severely Damaged are often preferred by deer and should only be planted with additional protection such as the use of fencing, repellents, etc. Success of any of these plants in the landscape will depend on local deer populations and weather conditions.