Deer Proof Trees and Shrubs

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by latkins, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. latkins

    latkins Member

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    vancouver island, canada
    I recently built new home in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island and now ready to start landscaping. Would appreciate feedback on what trees and shrubs to plant that may be deer resistant. I have a south facing back yard and lot is approx 125 x 125.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The reliably deer resistant ones are those behind a deer fence.

    What deer don't eat most years they will go for during a hard winter. Although native to cold climates, they often run out of food during the winter. Curious, but true. Then there is the problem of bucks rubbing the bark off of trees with their antlers. So the specimen is still spoiled, even if they aren't eating it.

    They can sometimes seem wary of clumps and thickets of evergreen shrubs. A friend with a mostly unmaintained collection that hosts a herd of tame deer gets some delectables past them by planting these among the branches of deerbrush, strawberry tree and Italian buckthorn. Yes: deerbrush and buckthorn, ironically. On the other hand, the last time I encountered a tick it was after walking a little ways into some tall deerbrush. The trail soon got real skinny, as deer paths often do.
     
  3. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    I'm not a big fan of deer fence, as I like having the critters around. In my brief experience in deer land, I'll tell tou what they seem to like best - Anything in the Rose family. Often, if you live in an area with lots of native growth, they will browse the natives, unless they find something in your yard that is tastier - no guarantees here, though.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    At the moment deer are debarking a Cedrus deodara 'Repandens' (earlier attack on 3 Picea omorika a few years ago I at first thought was mowing help running them over) and defoliating a Lonicera japonica and a Nandina domestica amidst acres of native growth on Camano Island. Then there's the orchard where the fence developed a gap...

    The problem is that her dog died a few years ago. A replacement has not been found, deer (and coyotes and rabbits) have come back in. We are soon going to have to fence all the existing beds near the house as well as every new planting if she doesn't get a new dog soon.
     
  5. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    I know. Still, when a mature buck comes walking at you out of the fog, it's an awesome sight. Last year, we had an albino deer in the area that walked within 5 feet of me. Guess I'm just a sucker for wildlife.
     
  6. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    There are many lists out there of "deer resistant" plants- unfortunately the deer don't read the lists! They often will taste, then leave alone, plants with aromatic leaves. Unfortunately, if they are really hungry, they will eat almost anything. And destroy with rubbing what they don't eat. A fence and/or a dog work the best.
     
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    They'll even eat Monkey-puzzle (like eating a mouthful of razor blades)
     
  8. medamana

    medamana Member

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    Boxwood is quite deer resistant. We live in an area with a huge deer population. They eat most shrubs. Boxwoods have survived nicely.
     
  9. marileeq

    marileeq Member

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    In Kimberley, where mis-informed locals actually hand feed deer, I have found that deer usually won't eat anything in the Artemesia family, perennials that have daisy-like flowers (huge selection readily available), usually anything that is highly scented (bleeding heart, monarda/bergamont), any of the verbascums, anything with fuzzy grey leaves, ornamental grasses, yarrow, any of the "worts" (lungwort, spiderwort, mugwort, etc). The only shrubs they have not nibbled are spirea and barberry. They love rhododendron buds, cedars, dogwood and in Kimberley, Mugo Pines. They usually won't eat junipers or spruces. Good luck to you!
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I've never noticed much of an aroma from bleeding heart (Dicentra).
     
  11. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    They both get hit hard over here, eaten right back to old wood.
     
  12. nina

    nina Member

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    Buddeia davidii, and Snapdragons are a couple of enjoyable plants deer seem to avoid here.
     
  13. levilyla

    levilyla Active Member

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    If you don't want to go with a fence try some of the sprays...alternately and using more often than the recommendation on the label. It really has helped in my garden .. I love to see deer also (they are beautiful) but I hate to see a huge budded up Oriental lilly waiting to bloom and then the next day a stick. They don't seem to touch my linderas or Nandinas...they don't seem to eat weeds either..or pachysandra (a weed to me). In one night last summer they destroyed about 50 hostas right down to the ground but I had not been spraying as frequently in that area. As Guy Sternberg says "Deer are beautiful majestic animals, every county should have one."
     

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