Gardening for Wildlife forum: Tired of Plants I was told were deer proof but got eaten anyway!

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Name: Saje Hopkins
Oregon (Zone 6a)
Gardening in a temperamental 51 day
Mar 16, 2015 12:33 AM CST
I am always amazed at what different garden books list as deer proof. Deer in your neck of the woods may eat plants that the deer in mine reach over to get to something else, and vice versa. I've tried to keep track each year by noting the conditions, dates and which plants were on their menu.
Last year a garden center recommended a product they discovered kept deer away from their tulips. It is called Milorganite and intended for turf building. I sprinkled it around any plants deer ate in previous years and it seemed to work. I also used Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent spray (ugh, it stinks). Both need to be administered when rain is not forecast. I topped up the Milorganite after a week or two as it disintegrated with regular watering. If I saw deer near-by, I added more. Liquid Fence has directions for when to use. I use both because I have rabbits and chipmunks that like to eat plant roots.
Tonight I went to let our dog out and found a herd of 7-8 deer in the yard checking out what's on this year's menu. Time to get sprinkling and spraying!
Flowers are the beginning of everything
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Beavers Region: Canadian Dragonflies Butterflies Cactus and Succulents
Birds Cat Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers Deer Garden Ideas: Level 1
Mar 16, 2015 8:09 AM CST
Hi Saje, Welcome!
The books about "deer resistant" plants don't always take into account regional preferences of what deer like to eat, and when deer are really hungry, they'll eat pretty much anything. However, any plant that is prickly, pungent, hairy-leaved, or poisonous stands a good chance of being left alone by browsers.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Apr 1, 2015 7:27 AM CST
Especially poisonous or medicinal...

I took that concept a bit further when I wrote this post about home remedies:

It isn't just the deer that eat our pretties...

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