Deer eat the most herbaceous plants in the spring and summer. In the fall they start on the woody plants and most often go after evergreens in the winter.
One strategy, if you have small yews and arborvitae, is to put wire cages around those in the fall and leave them in place all winter when the deer are especially hungry. They won’t eat spruce, hemlock, boxwood, or false cypress. Protect the trunks of trees because bucks like to rub the velvet off their antlers on them and this marks their territory.
Plant deer resistant shrubs such as bottlebrush buckeye, shadblow, northern red oak, and Pieris japonica.
Flowers that deer avoid include gaillardias, snapdragons, straw flowers, peonies, stocks, sweet alyssum, flowering tobacco, dusty miller, and marigolds. I have, however, seen rabbits eating my small marigold plants, but the deer dislike their pungent odor.
Deer also avoid zinnias, cosmos, cleome, yarrow, monkshood, foxglove, and bleeding heart. Also not on their menu are globe thistle, iris, daffodils, lavender, and lamb’s ears, as well as Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’.
On a positive note, last summer I had a lovely bed of annual salvias in blue and maroon colors, combined with tall white Angelonia and mauve Saponaria and purple globe amaranth, and the deer left it all alone.
This is Moya Andrews, and today we focused more on deer.