TREES & plants

Plants not favored by deer

There are few things more frustrating to a gardener than having deer dine on much-cherished plants.  Even if you are prepared to tolerate deer damage because you think these animals are picturesque, take heed.  Deer are creatures of habit.  Once they perceive your garden as a safe and delectable haven, they will visit regularly.

An increase in white-tailed deer populations and a decrease of their natural habitat have set up a situation in home landscapes, near woodlands where palatable ornamental plants become alternative food sources for deer.  When winter approaches and food sources become less available, feeding on leaves, stems, and buds of woody plants becomes more apparent.  Male deer also cause damage by rutting or rubbing their antlers along the stems or trunks of trees and stripping off bark.

Deer should be discouraged immediately when they first appear.  Young trees and shrubs can suffer permanent damage from deer browsing.  Deer damage is usually identified by the torn or jagged appearance of branches or twigs compared to the clean-cut feeding damage caused by rabbits and squirrels.

How, exactly, do you discourage deer?  There are four basic options:

 

  • Fencing.  You can physically restrict deer by enclosing your entire yard or garden in fencing at least six feet tall.  If you only have a few trees or shrubs to protect, you can put barrier fencing around these individual plants.  Cost and aesthetics are the major drawbacks to this option.
  • Repellents. Homemade and commercial repellents are common control methods to discourage deer, but their effectiveness and success are based on several factors.  Most have a bitter taste or foul odor, which discourage deer from feeding.  Snow and rainfall can dissipate some materials so reapplication is frequently needed.  Some repellents simply do not weather well even without rain.  If food sources are scarce, deer may simply ignore the repellents, despite the taste or odor.
  • Predators.  A large, noisy dog is a good deer deterrent.  If you don't have a dog, you can hang shiny tape or strips from branches, or place inflated balls, whirlygigs, or other moving objects in the yard to startle deer with sudden movement.  You'll have to rotate these frequently, however, or deer will soon realize that they are not in danger from these objects.
  • Deer-resistant plants.  If they are hungry enough and food is scarce enough, deer will eat almost anything.  However, there are a number of plants that deer don't find particularly palatable.  Using these plants in your landscape is often the most cost-effective, least time consuming, and most aesthetically pleasing solution.

 

In this pamphlet, we offer a list of trees and shrubs not favored by deer.  However, deer-browsing resistance of any plant species may change due to fluctuations in deer populations, alternative food availability, and environmental factors.

 

TREES

Common Name                                               Scientific Name

Bald-cypress                                                     Taxodium distichum

Beech                                                                 Fagus spp.

Birch                                                                   Betula spp.

Catalpa                                                              Catalpa spp.

Chestnut                                                            Castanea spp

Dawn redwood                                                 Metasequoia glyptostroboides

Giant arborvitae                                               Thuja plicata

Ginkgo                                                                Ginkgo biloba

Ironwood                                                           Ostrya virginiana

Japanese tree lilac                                            Syringa reticulata

Larch                                                                   Larix spp.

Black locust                                                       Robinia pseudoacacia

Honey-locust                                                     Gleditsia triacanthos

Redbud                                                               Cercis canadensis

Sassafras                                                            Sassafras albidum

Smoke tree                                                        Cotinus spp.

Sourwood                                                          Oxydendrum arboreum

Sweet-gum                                                        Liquidambar styraciflua

Spruce                                                                Picea spp.

Sycamore                                                          Platanus occidentalis

Tulip tree                                                          Liriodendron tulipifera

 

Shrubs

Common Name                                               Scientific Name

Boxwood                                                           Buxus spp.

Leatherwood                                                    Dirca palustris

Coralberry/Snowberry                                    Symphoricarpos spp.

Forsythia                                                           Forsythia spp.

Japanese kerria                                                Kerria japonica

Common lilac                                                   Syringa vulgaris

Oregon grape-holly                                         Mahonia aquifolium

Smoke bush                                                     Cotinus spp

Spicebush                                                         Lindera benzoin                     

Spirea                                                                Spiraea spp.

Carolina allspice                                              Calycanthus floridus

Witch hazel                                                       Hamamelis spp.

 

Ground Covers

Common Name                                               Scientific Name

Barren strawberry                                           Waldsteinia fragarioides

Bergenia                                                            Bergenia cordifolia

Bugleweed                                                         Ajuga reptans

Bunchberry                                                       Cornus canadensis

Catmint                                                              Nepeta x faassenii

Epimedium                                                        Epimedium spp.

Ferns                                                                   Numerous species

Hens and chicks                                               Sempervivum spp.

Juniper                                                                Juniperus spp.

Lady's mantle                                                    Alchemilla mollis

Lamium                                                              Lamium spp.

Lily of the valley                                               Convallaria majalis

Lily turf                                                              Liriope spicata

Lungwort                                                           Pulmonaria spp.

Mosses                                                              --------------

Pachysandra                                                      Pachysandra spp.

Potentilla                                                            Potentilla spp

Sedum                                                                Sedum spp.

Snow-in-summer                                              Cerastium tomentosum

Sweet woodruff                                                Galium odoratum

Vinca                                                                   Vinca minor

Violet                                                                  Viola spp.

Wild ginger                                                        Asarum canadense

Wild strawberry                                                Fragaria spp

 

Perennial Vines

Common Name                                               Scientific Name

Akebia                                                                Akebia quinata

Bittersweet                                                       Celastrus scandens

Clematis                                                            Clematis spp.                          

Grape                                                                 Vitis coignetiae

Honeysuckle                                                     Lonicera spp.

Ivy, Boston                                                        Parthenocissus tricuspidata

Silver lace vine                                                Polygonum aubertii

Trumpet creeper                                             Campsis radicans

Virginia creeper                                               Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Wisteria                                                             Wisteria sinensis

 

Hardy Bulbs

Common Name                                               Scientific Name

Autumn crocus                                                 Colchicum autumnalis

Crown imperial                                                  Fritillaria imperialis

Daffodil                                                               Narcissus spp.

Grape hyacinth                                                 Muscari spp.

Glory-of-the-snow                                            Chionodoxa luciliae

Ornamental onion                                           Allium spp.

Siberian scilla                                                    Scilla sibirica

Snowdrops                                                        Galanthus nivalis

Winter aconite                                                  Eranthis hyemalis

 

Annuals and Biennials

Common Name                                               Scientific Name

Ageratum                                                          Ageratum houstonianum

Alyssum                                                             Lobularia maritima

Candytuft                                                          Iberis sempervirens

Forget-me-not                                                 Myosotis spp.

Four o'clock                                                       Mirabilis jalapa

Foxglove                                                            Digitalis purpurea

Heliotrope                                                         Heliotropium arborescens

Larkspur                                                            Delphinium spp.

Lobelia                                                               Lobelia spp.

Marigold                                                            Tagetes spp.

Mimulus                                                             Mimulus spp.

Morning glory                                                   Ipomoea spp.

Moonflower                                                       Ipomoea spp.

Nasturtium                                                        Tropaeolum majus

Petunia                                                               Petunia spp.

Poppy                                                                 Papaver spp.

Salvia, Sage                                                        Salvia spp.

Snapdragon                                                       Antirrhinum majus

Stocks                                                                 Matthiola spp.

Sunflower                                                          Helianthus annuus

Sweet William                                                   Dianthus spp.

Mexican sunflower                                          Tithonia rotundifolia

            

Hardy Perennials

Common Name                                               Scientific Name

Monkshood                                                       Aconitum spp.

Anemone                                                           Anemone spp.

Artemisia                                                           Artemisia spp.

Astilbe                                                                Astilbe spp.

Bee Balm                                                           Monarda spp.

Bergenia                                                             Bergenia cordifolia

Black-eyed Susan                                              Rudbeckia hirta

Butterfly weed                                                  Asclepias tuberosa

Columbine                                                         Aquilegia spp.

Coreopsis                                                          Coreopsis spp.

Cranesbill                                                          Geranium spp.

Fleabane daisy                                                 Erigeron x hybridus

Foam flower                                                     Tiarella cordifolia

Gentian                                                              Gentiana spp.

Geum                                                                 Geum spp.

Goldenrod                                                         Solidago spp.

Hellebore                                                           Helleborus nigra

Hens & chicks                                                   Sempervivum spp.

Hibiscus                                                             Hibiscus spp.

Iris                                                                       Iris spp.

Jacob's ladder                                                   Polemonium caeruleum

Rose campion                                                   Lychnis coronaria

Marsh marigold                                                Caltha palustris

Meadow rue                                                     Thalictrum spp.

Meadowsweet                                                  Filipendula spp.

Peony                                                                 Paeonia spp.

Phlox                                                                  Phlox divaricata

Pinks                                                                   Dianthus spp.

Purple coneflower                                            Echinacea purpurea

Rock cress                                                         Arabis caucasica

Russian sage                                                     Perovskia atriplicifolia

Salvia, sage                                                        Salvia spp.

Sedum                                                                Sedum spp.

Shasta daisy                                                      Chrysanthemum

Snakeroot                                                          Eupatorium rugosum

Sneezeweed                                                      Helenium autumnale

Snow-in-summer                                             Cerastium tomentosum

Speedwell                                                          Veronica spp.

Toadflax                                                             Linaria spp.

Valerian                                                              Valeriana officinalis

Violet                                                                  Viola spp.

Yarrow                                                                Achillea spp.

             

 

Herbs

Common Name                                               Scientific Name

Angelica                                                             Angelica archangelica

Artemisia                                                           Artemisia absinthum

Basil                                                                   Ocimum basilicum

Borage                                                               Borago officinalis

Catmint                                                              Nepeta x faassenii

Chamomile                                                       Matricaria spp.

Chives                                                                Allium schoenoprasum

Comfrey                                                            Symphytum x rubrum

Dill                                                                      Anethum graveolens

Fennel                                                               Foeniculum vulgare

Feverfew                                                           Tanacetum parthenium

Germander                                                      Teucrium chamaedrys

Hyssop                                                              Hyssopus officinalis

Lamb's ears                                                      Stachys byzantina

Lavender                                                          Lavandula angustifolia

Lemon balm                                                    Melissa officinalis

Mint                                                                  Mentha spp.                                       

Mullein                                                             Verbascum spp.

Oregano                                                           Origanum vulgare

Parsley                                                             Petroselinum spp.

Rosemary                                                        Rosmarinus officinalis

Rue                                                                   Ruta graveolens

Sage                                                                 Salvia officinalis

Savory                                                              Satureja montana

Tansy                                                                Tanacetum coccineum

Thyme                                                              Thymus spp.