Deer Resistant Shrubs

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by latkins, May 2, 2007.

  1. latkins

    latkins Member

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    I live on Vancouver Island and would like some broadleaf evergreen shrubs to plant on north front of house. Particularly like the Hebe. Any comments or suggestions?
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    "There are almost no "deer proof" plants. Different deer populations seem to favor different plants, and their tastes change from year to year and from garden to garden. A hungry deer will eat almost anything green including plants that are toxic."

    "They tend to dislike plants with aromatic foliage, herbs like rosemary, lavender and santolina. If the plant is thorny, that doesn't indicate their behavior one way or the other. They avoid holly and gorge on thorny roses. It's a shame they don't care for English Ivy or Himalayan blackberries."

    "They have also learned that even when enraged, chubby middle-aged gardeners are not fleet enough of foot to pose any threat."

    http://gardening.wsu.edu/column/11-18-01.htm
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The one statement from WSU contradicts the other! The statement quoted second here is the true one. Over here, holly is heavily attacked.
     
  4. Maggie76

    Maggie76 Member

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    I live on Bowen Island and we have a large resident deer population. I have been experimenting on our property for the last 2 years with various plants and have discovered that deer will eat almost any plant that has new growth on it. This, I believe, is partly because in the spring they are very hungry from a long winter and partly the new growth is more appetizing. It is always wise to protect your plants with fencing, wire or other means at this time of year. Any plants that get nibbled can be severely stunted or ruined. Once plants have gained a foothold they can better withstand some nibbling. (Although some plants, like vegetables, will never stand a chance with a deer around. Get yourself a good fence for your veggie plot and precious flowers.)

    That said, I have had luck (so far) with the following plants:

    English Holly (beware as birds spread the seeds prolifically)
    Juniper
    Cotoneaster
    Rhododendron (may want to fence these until they are a mature size)
    Fig
    Daphne Laurel (although I would not recommend this as it is a weed)
    Oregon Grape
    Red huckleberry
    Salmonberry (careful it spreads)
    Salal
    Sword fern (although they nibble the tips of the ferns in the spring)
    Hellebore
    Crown Imperial Fritillaria
    Daffodils
    Pushkinia
    Iris
    Allium
    Ornamental grasses (I've personally tried a variety of Miscanthus)

    Good luck!
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Had some nibbling of tips of a planted holly cultivar inside garden last year, before then had never seen it. Spontaneous seedlings in nearby woods not showing easily seen signs of browsing, as is usual here. Deer limbing up hollies in UK different species, that probably has something to do with it.
     
  6. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    i thought i had heard that they didn't like yews specifically Taxus cuspidata? could be wrong.
     
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Quite possible; we have Roe Deer, Fallow Deer and Red Deer. It isn't so much the foliage they go for, as stripping off the bark. They'll even do this on mature trees. Note: this is chewing for nutrient consumption, not antler rubbing.

    Again, variable. Some places, yews get devoured in a short time.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    A friend on a trip to Ireland wandered off from the group and found himself in an extensive holly thicket. He was able to get around in it by stooping over, as, according to him deer had eaten away all of the lower branches. There was a uniform level above which the trees were densely clothed, below completely bare, as though the bottom branches had been lopped at the trunks.

    We don't see anything like that here, holly might as well be made of metal.
     
  9. WesternWilson

    WesternWilson Active Member 10 Years

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    Is it helpful at all to put out a salt lick or even hay to distract the deer from garden plants and bark? Or would you just end up with more deer eating more of your garden?
     
  10. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yes! The more you feed them, the faster they'll breed and the more there'll be. Like all living things the population will expand to match the available food supply.
     
  11. WesternWilson

    WesternWilson Active Member 10 Years

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    Then I suppose adopting a local coyote pack may be the best option!
     
  12. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    You don't want to meddle with that population either. Make a pleasant garden for yourself inside a good high fence and leave the plants outside it to the wildlife. If you are trying to produce commercial crops beyond the ornamental garden you will have to fence that area too or take other measures to assure success.
     
  13. island50girl

    island50girl Member

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    Just to let you know, the deer LOVE my English Ivy!!!
     
  14. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    OK... so in two weeks I move to a deer infested 1/2 acre of prime south west exposed residential property in Port Moody... at sea level....I love to garden, will my Musa bajoo , Brugmanasia, Arum, Crassula, Passiflora.... all fall prey to Deer?

    I can't imagine what I will to for fencing my vegetable garden... oh dear, what have I got myself involved with?!!!!! Please advise!
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2007
  15. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes, you will have problems unless you build a fortress of deer fencing around your place.
     
  16. levilyla

    levilyla Active Member

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    Deer Out and other sprays do help. You have to be diligent. I also have gotten some stakes that are battery operated and they have a pheramone (sp) that attracts the deer and when they touch them they get a shock. I have found they do not touch Nandina (ever) or Lindera, Norway spruce, Blue spruce, Skimmia, Sweet Box, Christmas ferns, Leucothoe, Viburnum juddii, and tomentosa and dilatatum. I have also thought about feeding them way down in the woods to see it it would keep them there but I guess maybe Ron B is right.
     
  17. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Viburnum plicatum tomentosum placed among possibly repellent-smelling groundcover (Lamiastrum) on Camano Island sought out and nibbled to the quick.
     
  18. levilyla

    levilyla Active Member

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    I guess it all depends on what more interesting plants are near by. They have never touched mine....(so far).
     
  19. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Though We have a Dog, and darn good informant.... I will likely need two outside

    German Shepperds.... at least they will not see the garden as a smorgasbord.

    If Auracaria can't survive, how about hardy Palms?
     
  20. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Why wouldn't Auracaria survive? Hardy palms ... are you refering to Trachycarpus or Chamaerops etc, if so no problem with them suviving.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  21. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Araucaria araucana and Trachycarpus fortunei are common and reliable in region. Chamaerops not fully hardy, periodically damaged anywhere it gets below apparently somewhat high min. temp. (15F?). Washingtonia definitely tender, good only to 20s (F). One near me, maybe 10 ft. tall got burned last winter, but did not appear to die back (I have not seen it up close, sometime I will walk over and look at it).
     
  22. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Great news, the Trachycarpus and Washingtonias have a new lease on life...
    Now what about my Citrus collection?
     
  23. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Despite its razor-sharp leaves, it is not deer-resistant. They will browse it if they feel the desire. Their tongues must be made of kevlar.
     
  24. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    You'd best ask Gregn about your citrus!

    Michael F ... I've not heard or seen of that before. I guess the deer here, have too much else and can be selective.

    Cheers. LPN.
     
  25. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    One web site has said all citrus - as in genus Citrus - have a 28F min. temp., in which case there would be no truly hardy ones. Minimal protection may be adequate, anything that keeps them above 28F. Plastic tunnel or poly house, with heat provided during arctic fronts only, for instance.
     

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