The Q&A Archives: Gardening In Deer Country

Question: I am planning a garden, shrubs, perennials, annuals, bulbs in my backyard in Princeton, New Jersey. It is a large area and requires a few planting areas. We have many white tailed deer who walk through our yard and feast every day. I am looking for two lists: one of plants to avoid, and one of plants that are deer resistant. Thank you.

Answer: Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast lists to give you. For instance, daffodils are often cited as being deer proof (!) but the deer in my yard ate them one spring following a severe winter. Prickly things are also often suggested, but our local deer eat junipers, one of the prickliest groups of plants.

Deer are creatures of habit and will browse the same area over and over, and will learn to eat more types of plants and expand there preferences over time. You might want to check with your neighbors and find out what your local deer population seems to favor and what has been successfully planted because this will give you the most accurate information for your own yard.

The best method of preventing deer damage is, unfortunately, a fence.

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