Plant Health Alert – Preventing Deer Damage

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In the seven years I have been in Henderson County the deer population has grown noticeably. Recently, they ate my pansies the first night I put them out! The plants were in pots on my porch. BOO!

backyard deer

This rascal has been eating all of my flowers!!!

Deer not only eat plants but deer also spread ticks. We have seen a big increase in tick populations and tick vectored diseases in Western NC. Learn more here.

Deer Control Options:

There are a few options for preventing plant damage caused by deer. For a full list, see this site.

Deer Sterilization – Sterilization is a great idea and has been studied as a possibility but to my knowledge nobody sterilizes deer on a neighborhood or city-wide scale.
deer feeding

Deer will eat just about any green plant including conifers like this Juniper. In the late winter/early spring deer tend to hit landscape plants hardest because there is not much natural food in the woods.

Fencing  – there is no better way of keeping deer from eating your plants than building a fence!
deer and vole fence

Deer and voles won’t get over this veggie garden fence!

Hunting  – Every wildlife management agency both federal and state say that hunting is the best deer control method. Establishing neighborhood wide hunts is always controversial but it is the best way to manage deer. Neighborhoods often implement bow hunting rather than rifle hunting for safety.

hollies defoliated by deer

Deer will even eat hollies!

Repellents  –  deer repellents are usually a home gardener’s best option to prevent deer damage to landscape plants. Fertilizing with Milorganite fertilizer does a good job repelling deer because it stinks for weeks.
Deer resistant plants  – deer dislike some plants. Search the NC Plants Database for landscape plants that resist deer feeding.
deer yard

Urban/suburban deer lose their fear of humans and will come out during the day.

deer trail

Deer access yard by trails. Block these trails to deter deer.

deer feeding

Deer feeding often looks torn and ragged.