Twig Tips by Jodie

Posted on August 17, 2016 by jo


Oh, deer me!  The deer are driving us gardeners crazy with their developing taste buds and prefer our flowers and ornamental shrubs over corn and alfalfa.  We used to joke around about "Indiana Corn-fed Deer".....these days, it's more like "Indiana Hosta-fed Deer".  Dang it!  I'm here to tell you that unless you want to go out and buy a gun or a big hound dog, you better not try to grow hostas, arborvitae, coral bells,  roses, rhododendrons, blue holly, yews, english ivy,  pansies, burning bushes, impatiens, hydrangea, tulips, daylilies, hemlocks, witchhazel, mahonia, or privet.  There are more but these are the main ones around here.  But look at the bright side, that still leaves a LOT of plants they don't like so don't give up hope.  Here's a partial list of deer-resistant plants (NOTE- I'm saying "resistant", no guarantees that Bambi won't like Coneflowers next week!)  

Deer-resistant Perennials and Ground Covers Astilbe, Butterfly Weed, Butterfly Bush, Coreopsis, Shasta Daisies, Dianthus, Coneflower, Joe Pye Weed, most Ferns, Baby's Breath,Lavender, Asiatic Lilies, Russian Sage, Phlox, Solomon'Seal, Lamiums, Iris,Turtlehead, Lily of the Valley, Foamflower,Gaillardia, Daffodils, Bee Balm, Catmint, Hyssop, Yarrow,  Balloon Flower, Veronica, ajuga, pachysandra, liriope, most sedums, myrtle, and violas.  They show little interest in most native perennials and grasses in general, guess they like "exotic" plants, they are tastier!

Deer-resistant  trees & shrubs Boxwood, Barberry, some Junipers, Mugho Pine, Lilacs, Norway & Blue Spruce, Golden Falsecypress, Kousa Dogwood, Forsythia, Beautybush, Western Arborvitae, Japanese Spirea, Dw. Alberta Spruce, most Viburnums,Fragrant Sumac, Yuccas, Weigelas and Potentillas. 

Here is a website put out by Rutgers that I found with a more complete list....very helpful. Also another page about deer on Purdue's Extension website, tells you how to build an electric fence and bait 'em with peanut butter.  ZAP! No more deer, for a while anyway.  This link has a lot of information on it, if you have major deer issues you might want to read it.

Deer also do more than browse in your flower beds...during the fall, starting around Labor Day, be prepared to protect your young trees from being rubbed and damaged when the bucks start scratching their antlers.  They will effectively girdle a young tree in one "attack" so if you have planted a new tree, keep chicken wire or tree wraps on the trunks through the fall/winter months.  Once the tree has matured a bit, this danger seems to pass.  The little devils seem to like new trees, they are curious and need to leave their mark. They will also climb up in crabapples to get the little apples and can break them down.  Mature trees can usually take this but you might have to put some fence around young crabs and other fruit trees to protect your investment.

Hey good luck, you're going to need it. And to think, we used to like deer before they were such a nusiance and so darn plentiful.  Bring back the wolves!  Just kidding, it's safer just to grow plants that they dislike instead of the ones they find delectable!

Off to hug my dogs, they keep the deer away from my flowers - Jodie


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