The Q&A Archives: Deer/ Rabbit troubles

Question: I have moved to a new location in the country and I have Rabbit and Deer visit most nights. They have stripped one of my camellias bare and even ate some of the native dogwood I planted. Mostly they hang out on my large lawn.
2 questions. Should I try to buy deer resistant plants or treat the yard in some other way (I don't have fences)
If you have a plant list could you send it my way?
Thank you for any help you can provide.

Answer: Sounds as though the local wildlife is winning the competition! A large population of hungry deer will eat almost any plant available. Some plants may be sampled but not destroyed. However, the plants below are generally thought of as being plants deer do not prefer to eat unless they are starving! Perennials: Achillea, Artemisia, Astilbe, Campanula, Coreopsis, Dicentra, Digitalis, Erigeron,Gaillardia, Helleborus, Malva, Monarda, Stachys, Trollius, Verbena, and Tricyrtis. Some annuals include: Ageratum, Alyssum, Zinnia, Snapdragon and Lobelia. There are quite a few shrubs that deer appear to avoid. Deciduous choices include Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea (Japanese barberry), Cotoneaster apiculata (cranberry cotoneaster), Cotoneaster horizontalis (rockspray cotoneaster), Euonymus alatus compactus (burning bush), Lindera benzoin (spice bush), Picea glauca conica (dwarf Alberta spruce), Spiraea x bumalda 'Anthony Waterer', and Spiraea x vanhouttei. Evergreens include Berberis julianae (wintergreen barberry), Ilex crenata (Japanese holly), Ilex glabra (Inkberry), Juniperis procumbens nana (Japanese garden juniper), Picea abies (bird's nest spruce), and Pinus mugo (mugo pine).

As for the bunnies, there are some gardeners who have success in repelling bunnies when they spray their plants with a hot pepper mixture (a few drops in a spray bottle of water). I think this is rather labor intensive, though. I'd opt to screen my plants from the bunnies. Chicken wire 18-24" high surrounding the planting bed or individual plants is very effective. Usually bunnies will go elsewhere if they can't feed comfortably in your garden.

Best wishes with your new landscape!

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