The good, and rather surprising, news is that we eat some herbs, vegetables and berries the deer aren’t so crazy about. Keep in mind there is no such thing as a “deer-proof” plant. Deer resistance is highly regional, seasonal, weather dependent, tied to food availability, and deer populations. Also, deer, like people, have different tastes in food. That said, these edible plants are at least worth a try outside the safety of a deer fence. Deer resistance is usually classified in three categories: Rarely Damaged, Occasionally Damaged, and Frequently Damaged.
- A Historical and Biological look at the Tumultuous Relationship between Rural and Suburban Homeowners with the White-tailed Deer in the mid-Atlantic Region, as well as the Negative Impacts on our Properties and Natural Ecosystems Created by its Overabundance, NJ Deer Control, date? slide show
- 24 Deer-Resistant Plants, HGTV, 2017
Editor’s note: Keep in mind that these are deer-resistant, and not deer-proof plants. Depending upon deers’ hunger and determination, it’s hard to guarantee any plant will keep deer from munching.
- Plants that Deer Do Not Eat, Cornell University, Aug 2016
Deer are the #1 problem for farmers on Long Island!!! Deer Resistant Plants- No plant is “RESISTANT”. Other Damage: Rubbing antlers
- Deer Resistant Native Plants for Mid-Michigan, Wild Ones Red Cedar Chapter
- Winter Deer Foods, NY DEC
Partial listing of tree and shrub species that are eaten by deer in the winter, arranged in order of quality and preference. This listing is based on thousands of observations in deer wintering areas over many years from all parts of New York State.
- COMBATING DEER DAMAGE, Garden Club of Dearborn, 2014 blog
In that there is not one fool-proof solution to deter deer from damaging a landscape, it is necessary to rotate products and switch techniques as deer become accustomed to repellants and other remedies. And when installing new or replacing landscaping plants, remember the first line of defense is using those not palatable to deer.
- How to keep deer from gorging on your garden, Chicago Tribune, Jan 31, 2014
Deer will eat almost any plant if they are hungry enough, especially during winters with heavy snowfall and in areas with many deer. They will eat the buds, leaves, flowers, twigs and even bark of plants. As they browse, they pull and tear at plant tissue, leaving a ragged edge rather than a clean cut.
- Gardeners frustrated with heavy deer damage this season, Michigan State University Extension, April 2013
As the snow recedes, Michigan State University Extension horticulturists have gotten complaints about heavy deer browse, not only on favorite winter food plants such as yew and arborvitae, but even on plants known to be relatively resistant to damage. One factor contributing to the hungrier-than-normal animals was low acorn production from oak trees in many parts of the state.
- Deer-Resistant Edibles for Your Garden, Grow Organic, May 16, 2014
- A Study of the Effectiveness of Deer Repellents on the Eating Habits of White-tailed Deer, American Museum of Natural History, Young Naturalist Award, 2013
- Deer in the Uban Landscape, Aggie Horticulture,2008
- Deer Resistant Herbs, Advice From The Herb Lady– Blog
- Special Collections: Deer Resistant Plants, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, University of Texas Austin
- Rx: Living with deer, Marin Master Gardeners
- Wildlife and the Landscape: White-Tailed Deer, UMassAmherst, Landscape, Nursery & Urban Forestry Program, 2011
- Deer Problems In The Landscape, NC State Horticulture Leaflet
- An Overview and Cost Analysis of Deer Repellents for Homeowners and Landowners, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, May 2010
Deer are considered to be both agricultural and exurban pests because of their large populations and propensity to feed on agricultural and ornamental plants. With 1.8 million white-tailed deer in Alabama, the potential for this species to cause wildlife-human conflicts is tremendous.
- Special Collections: Deer Resistant Species, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, University of Texas, Austin
- Resistance of Ornamentals to Deer Damage, West Virginia University Extension Service
- Reducing Deer Damage TO YOUR GARDEN AND YARD, RHODE ISLAND DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT