Deer are everywhere—in fields and forests, and in our neighborhoods. They are hungry, and they often look for a tasty snack
Rebecca Finneran, Senior Horticulture Educator for Michigan State University Extension, explains that a loss of deer habitat due to the construction of business and residential areas, a reduced number of predators, and a decline in the number of hunters, are contributing factors to the increasing number of deer that are making their way into our yards and gardens. She adds that many popular landscaping plants are “delicious” to deer.
Rebecca suggested several ways to help keep deer from your property. First, avoid planting the plants that are especially attractive to deer, including hostas, yew and arborvitae. Also, consider some sort of barrier, such as a fence, fabric or netting around the property or individual plants. Repellants may provide protection too, as they taste and/or smell bad to deer. Rebecca reminds us that deer are very adaptable, so changing up repellants during the season should be more effective.
While there are plants that are very attractive to deer, Rebecca says that there are plants that deer do not like. They tend to avoid plants with fuzzy, leathery, prickly or sharp foliage, such as lamb’s ear, iris, and grasses. She reminds us that while deer do not read lists, we can consult lists of plants that are known to be deer-resistant, and build our landscapes and gardens from there.