In the wild, deer are browsers, eating twigs, buds and leaves from trees, shrubs and vines, and the flowers and leaves of weeds and wildflowers. Unfortunately, they don't differentiate from wilderness habitat and your from lawn. The trees and shrubs in your garden, not to mention the flowers, can be tempting treats for deer.
Physical barriers to keep deer away aren't always practical solutions. The best approach is to plant deer resistant varieties of plants, including evergreens, which deer don't like to eat.
Evergreen trees serve as windbreaks or as specimen plants in the yard. Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens glauca), juniper (Juniperis chinensis), American holly (Ilex opaca) and all species of pine (Pinus sp) are good choices for deer resistant plantins.
Trees are more susceptible to damage when they are very young, so you may need to protect saplings with fencing. Deer will sometimes eat the bark of young trees when they won't eat the leaves. Wrap trunks of young trees with plastic trunk wrap to protect against damage.
Evergreen shrubs can define the boundaries of a yard or add a finished look along the foundation of your home. Deer-resistant evegreen shrubs include boxwood (Buxus semipervirens), mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) and daphne (Daphne sp.).
In areas with mild winters, several perenniel herbs will survive the winter months, their foliage remaining evergreen. Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalus) will grow to be a small shrub, producing blue flowers in the spring. All shrubs can be susceptible to damage from deer in the early spring when the shrubs are sending out tender new buds. Deer netting or pepper spray can protect the shrubs temporarily until the new growth becomes woodier.
Trailing juniper (Juniperus sp), prickly dianthus (Acantholimon sp) and saxifrage (Saxifrage sp) are good choices for ground covers that stay green all year and are usually avoided by deer. If these plants are eaten, voles are more likely to be responsible than deer.
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