Dealing With Deer in the Garden

By the Plant Information Specialists

·· Pests ··

Dealing With Deer in the Garden

Deer are lovely, graceful creatures best admired from a distance, but definitely not appreciated in the backyard, munching on one's shrubbery and flowerbeds. Unfortunately, as their natural habitat disappears, they encroach upon our suburban and exurban neighborhoods, seeking the food proffered by our plantings. Some municipalities may have programs for thinning the deer population, but we as individuals can take steps to minimize the damage posed by this wildlife.

First and foremost, an eight foot deer fence is the best line of defense. It can enclose groupings of plantings, or it can be erected around the property where the deer gain entry.

Secondly, there are deer repellants which are marketed as effective against browsing. These are generally sprayed on plants. It may be beneficial to switch between products with different active ingredients during the growing season.

And lastly, you can plant deer resistant plants, keeping in mind that that no plant is deer proof.

The following are plants that deer despise:

Deer-Resistant Annuals

Ageratum ageratum
Antirrhinum snapdragon
Calendula pot marigold
Catharanthus annual vinca
Centaurea cineraria dusty miller
Cleome spider plant
Heliotropium heliotrope
Lantana lantana
Mirabalis four o'clocks
Nicotiana flowering tobacco
Salvia salvia
Tagates French marigold
Tropaeolum nasturtium
Verbena verbena
Zinnia zinnia

Deer-Resistant Perennials

Achillea yarrow
Aconitum monkshood
Actaea bugbane
Agastache anise hyssop
Alchemilla lady's mantle
Amsonia blue star
Anemone x hybrid Japanese anemone
Aquilegea columbine
Astilbe astilbe
Baptisia false blue indigo
Dicentra bleeding hearts
Digitalis foxglove
Euphorbia spurge
Geranium hardy geraniums
Ornamental Grasses
Helleborus hellebore
Iris siberica Siberian iris
Lavandula lavender
Ligularia ligularia
Monarda beebalm
Nepeta catnip
Paeonia peony
Perovskia Russian sage
Salvia sage
Stachys lamb's ears

Deer-Resistant Shrubs

Abelia x grandiflora glossy abelia
Buddleia butterfly bush
Buxus sempervirens common boxwood
Calycanthus floridus Carolina allspice or common sweetshrub
Caryopteris x clandonensis blue mist shrub
Clethra summersweet
Cornus sericea red osier dogwood
Cotinus coggygria smoke bush
Cotoneaster cotoneaster
Enkianthus campanulatus redvein enkianthus
Forsythia forsythia
Ilex glabra inkberry
Ilex verticillata winterberry
Itea virginica Virginia sweetspire
Kolkwitzia amabilis beautybush
Leucothoe fontanesiana drooping leucothoe
Pieris japonica Japanese andromeda
Potentilla fruticosa cinquefoil
Spiraea spirea
Syringa vulgaris common lilac
Viburnum viburnum

Deer-Resistant Trees

Acer griseum paperbark maple
Acer palmatum Japanese maple
Acer rubrum red maple
Acer saccharum sugar maple
Aesculus parviflora bottlebrush buckeye
Amelanchier Allegheny serviceberry
Betula nigra 'Heritage' heritage birch
Cercidiphyllum japonicum Katsura tree
Cornus kousa Kousa dogwood
Fagus sylvatica European beech
Ilex opaca American holly
Liriodendron tulipifera tulip tree
Picea abies Norway spruce
Picea glauca white spruce
Picea pungens glauca Colorado blue spruce
Pinus nigra Austrian pine
Pseudotsuga menziesii Douglas fir
Quercus rubra
red oak

·· Pests ··

Generous support for the Home Gardening Center has been provided by Kenneth and Ellen Roman.