The Q&A Archives: Ferns and Deer

Question: I've been planting Alaskan Fern, Ostrich Fern and Japanese Painted Fern in part/full shade around my deck. The deer sometimes come around and mow the adjacent hostas, etc., to the ground. Are they likely to have a

Answer: In my experience, the deer usually leave most ferns alone however deer do learn to eat new plants over time and will try new plants when browse pressure is severe. Since they are already in your yard regularly, it is difficult to tell you the ferns are "safe"although several do appear on lists of plants "rarely" eaten by deer. The best way to protect plants from deer long term is to fence them out. Some gardeners report success with the spray on repellents but these must be applied and reappplied regularly. You may find some of the following information about gardening in deer country helpful. You may need to cut and paste the complete url into your browser to make it work correctly.

Good luck!

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