Are you ready? It's time for our 14th annual photo contest! Enter your best pictures of the year, for a chance to win a calendar and annual subscription here. Hurry! Deadline for entries is October 21.
Well, you can use all the deer resistant lists you want, but the deer do not read them, so may eat almost anything.
1) Do not put too much money into just a few species of plants. Buy a few each of many things. Then, when you find out what the deer in your area are eating, or not, repeat the order, and concentrate on the plants that have proven to be less palatable to your deer.
2) Older, more mature growth is more resistant. When a plant is deer resistant because of the oils in the plant it takes some some time for these oils to reach full concentration in the plants' new leaves. So the deer may nibble the new growth, but not the old.
3) Use a spray or other deer repellant when the plants are growing the fastest. Use other repellants to try to get them to not even enter the garden, too. Rotate the repellants, and keep them fresh. Deer get used to them, and the scent weathers, so suggests to the deer that the predator is not currently in the area.
Walk around your neighborhood and plant some of the same things your neighbors are planting. If the neighbors have to fence off certain plants, then avoid those plants.
Normally, plants with strong scents such as salvia and most herbs are not eaten by deer. I have lots of deer come through my property and I know from experience they will eat day lilies and azaleas to a nub. They haven't touched my wisteria at all. I have daffodil and iris beds along the driveway down close to the creek where they have quite a trail but they never touch them either. They also don't bother my spider lilies. I have lots of perennials all around the house but hubby had to put an electric fence all around them to keep the deer from coming right up to the house to eat them! There's really not a whole lot they won't eat if they're hungry enough. We keep a little peace between us and the deer by planting a food plot (clover and winter wheat) down by the creek which they visit every evening. We enjoy watching them, especially when the does bring in their little spotted fawns.
Lilies of the Valley, Foxgloves (Digitalis) and Monkshood, all for shade, are plants they definitely won't touch because they are toxic. They seem to leave the perennial Cranesbill geraniums alone. In my experience they do eat not eat iris foliage, only the buds :-(. Daylilies, hosta and phlox are like candy to them.
As others have said, their appetites vary from region to region, so try to find out what neighbors grow.
Ummm, did you consider just making them a deer munching area? and letting it grow crazy... kinda like we plant sunflowers away from our gardens- to draw bugs AWAY from our gardens? It could be your designated 'wildflower' area...No, I don't know that it could help...
actually, trees new growth is what they hunger for, If they are munching trees, their natural forage is depleted, then as they starve on off, and die, the cycle of plants to support them restarts. It sounds as if your Game wardens aren't managing their harvests well enough...
n Southampton, NY a beautifully landscaped property (my late mother's) was decimated over a period of about 5 years around the turn of this century. The population has not noticeably diminished, in fact now they bed down at one end of her 3/4 acre lot. I speak from experience...
They don't touch the Skimmia, Forsythia, Pines or Junipers. They only eat the early spring growth on the English Box shrubs, don't touch Korean Box. Azaleas are gone, also Weigela and others I've forgotten. Mature Glossy Abelias are nibbled up as high as they can reach, then spread at the top like umbrellas. I put in new ones, but they were annihilated overnight, not big enough. Rhodies too are nibbled up, also a formerly lovely Japanese Maple. They ate the buds off the peonies, then eventually the foliage diminished as well. Alchemilla and Nepeta survive. Astilbes, Heuchera gone. The fauns don't know what they aren't supposed to like, so they eat everything until they learn. And there are always new crops of fauns.
So again, there are differences in their habits in every region. See what is successful for the neighbors, check with local nurseries, and spray favorites. If you spray everything, they'll get used to it.
Shrubs that were not eaten in a deer-infested garden I had in PA:
Buxus 'Green Mountain'
Caryopteris x clandonensis
Perennials: any that are prickly, poisonous, pungent, or hairy, or grasses.
Bulbs: Colchicum, Narcissus, Fritillaria, Allium, Leucojum.