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Deer ate my evergreens - replace now or wait?

Davenport, IA

I had a nice dwarf norway spruce shrub and a "Juniperus Robustus" tree growing in the front yard. The neighbors spent the winter putting out squirrel corn and seeds for the birds, and the deer cut through my yard to get to it. I guess they couldn't resist chewing up my landscaping on the way to/from the goodies at the neighbor's house.

The form of the spruce is completely ruined, although it isn't dead. The juniper looks mostly dead although there are still some tiny green spots all the way up the trunk. They both look terrible. Should I pitch & replace? Does anyone have experience with these types of plants growing back? I hate to give up on them if there's a chance they will grow back, but they are pretty chewed up.



Saint Bonifacius, MN(Zone 4a)

Deer ate my evergreens - replace now or wait?

Yes, I would replace the deer. LOL

Resprouting will continue from the still green areas of both shrubs. Most of the time, however, a satisfactory look does not return for 3-5 years (depending on how badly they were eaten).

In addition, Norway spruce will only grow from buds created the year before. This means that growth will only occur from buds still present now, meanwhile new buds will form this season all over, but won't grow on until next year.

I think most likely you will want to replace them both (the plants I mean).

Davenport, IA

Thanks, that's what I thought I should do.

I'll consider replacing the deer. They might not go along with the idea, though! :)

Verona, WI(Zone 4b)

won't the deer just do it again? I've had luck with the small bush like blue spruce, when the deer ate everything else, they left those alone.

Davenport, IA

I'm going to use one of the products to repel deer. Everything I have planted (except the tulips, daylilies, and hosta) is supposed to be deer resistant. I hope with the addition of some smelly repellant product, the deer will leave my stuff alone.

I'll have to check out the blue spruce. Thanks for the tip!

McGregor, IA(Zone 4b)

Yes I have had deer severely prune my junipers too. I think the lower branches of emerald green and skyrocket will never really recover, but the tops are they won't be able to reach what's left hahaha. I noticed that a blue spruce and an alberta spruce weren't touched. A neighbor had a beautiful row of emerald juniper (I forget the real name) all around their yard dozens of trees - and one year all the bottom branches were denuded, as if some weird gardener had lopped them all off. They looks so sad for a few years, but now they are looking good again.

Davenport, IA

The juniper was replaced with rhamnus "Fine Line". It is also supposed to be deer resistant, and maybe they'll pass it up because it is not evergreen (less tempting?).

I don't see a plant files entry for it, but it looks like an interesting shrub.

Saint Bonifacius, MN(Zone 4a)

Fine Line is touted as being seedless, but that is not entirely true. Be careful as it is another introduced buckthorn, and just may seed around and become invasive. Minnesota has banned all Rhamnus species because of the strong possibility that any Rhamnus sp. will be nature destructive.

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