The Q&A Archives: Deer Resistant Plants -

Question: Last Year, We Planted Bushes - They Are Gone. What Can We Plant That Deer Won't Eat? Any Suggestions? We have tried to plant many bushes - flowering and non-flowering, including holly. The deer have killed them all. Do you have any suggestions? How can we keep them out? We work - and also tend to forget to spray the "deer repellents". I have heard that human hair works. Does it?

Answer: In a word, no. Unfortunately, deer will eat almost anything if they are hungry enough, and will browse repeatedly on any plant they have learned to like. They learn to eat new plants over time, so you could ask your neighbors what plants they are still able to grow without damage by the local deer population. However, deer are also creatures of habit, and now that your yard is on their regular route they will prbably continue to visit and munch. As you have learned, the repellents must be applied and reapplied as directed in order to be at all effective. Although some gardeners have reported success with any number of folk remedies from human hair to soap, in my (sad) experience the only reliable protection over time is a fence.

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