Wild animals often cause damage to landscapes in many suburban and rural areas. Damage from foraging deer occurs mainly in late fall through early spring. Some types of deer consume around 7 pounds of vegetation daily, causing damage and destruction in many yards and parks. Minimize wildlife damage in your area by selecting plants deer dislike. Use repellents or barriers to keep deer away from tasty varieties of plants.
Deer will avoid certain plants when other varieties exist in an area. Varieties that deer prefer to pass up include certain types of shrubs and trees. Plant these specimens to minimize the possibility of damage, but keep in mind that deer eat whatever they can during times of famine. Deer-resistant trees include English hawthorn, Russian olive and honey locust. Shrubs include common boxwood, western spice bush and holly. Several types of deer-resistant trees and shrubs produce sharp spines or thorns. Avoid planting these prickly varieties in areas frequented by children and pets.
Strong fences provide the best protection for landscapes. Keep in mind that deer jump up to 12 feet and easily trespass over average fences. Shorter fences that slope outward at the top create difficulty for deer. Electrical fences also help deter these animals. Place a barrier between wildlife and plants, such as thick tarps or wire netting. These protective sheets require continual placement and removal to ensure the health of the plants. A common type of barrier, bark protectors, covers small tree trunks with a layer of polypropylene tubing or woven-wire mesh.
One of the easiest and quickest methods for protecting landscape plants involves the application of repellent materials on and around plants. The combination of odor and taste deter deer from approaching and eating the treated plants. Apply hot sauce to non-edible plants with a water sprayer or mister. Soap-based repellents also cover up the natural smell of the plant while imparting an unpleasant taste. Many tie strongly scented bars of soap in shrubs and trees to ward off deer. Small bags containing human hair may warn deer away from plants.