Deer often no friend to gardens
TRACY HODGEAnyone who lives in a rural area in Florida can tell you about the feeding habits of deer.
Published: December 19, 2012
Published: December 19, 2012
While these animals are lovely to look at, they can quickly become a nuisance when they are feeding on your plants and flowers. Many have suffered damage from deer browsing. As homes continue to be built in rural areas, the native habitat of deer and other wildlife animals are in jeopardy. This means we may see a lot more damage to our yards and gardens in the coming years.
Deer are opportunistic feeders and will eat just about anything if they are hungry enough. There are no plants that are considered safe from deer feeding, but there are some they do not like as well as others.
If you live in an area where deer are browsing around, it is best to landscape with plants that are not favorite foods. To avoid damage, the owners of K&K Nursery advise homeowners to stay away from black cherry, crabapple, pear, Flatwoods plum and Carolina cherry laurel. Deer also enjoy red maple, white oak and most types of citrus trees.
So now that we know which ornamentals are commonly damaged by deer, we need to cover which ones are not usually eaten. While there are no truly resistant plants, these trees are damaged far less often than those previously mentioned.
Crape myrtle, bottlebrush, edible fig, dogwood, eucalyptus, ligustrum, live oak, magnolia, persimmon, pomegranate, orchid tree and podocarpus are all plants that will thrive in central Florida and are considered somewhat deer resistant. Deer do not typically feed on palms such as date palm, coconut palm, foxtail palm, royal palm, queen palm, thatch palm, cabbage palms and Christmas palms.
Shrubs also may suffer when deer come to feed. Some of their favorites are bougainvillea, hibiscus, hog plum, rhododendrons, roses and Mexican firebrush. Some safer shrub choices are camellia, croton, Chinese holly, bird of paradise, blackberry, gardenia, heavenly bamboo, ixora, juniper, Japanese boxwood, oleander, viburnum and wax myrtle.
Groundcovers also are in danger of damage when deer are around. Boston fern, English ivy, Aztec grass, holly fern, society garlic, wandering jew and yellow Jessamine are your safest bets.
Colorful flowers and bulbs make an attractive addition to any yard or garden. However, if deer are likely to wander into your yard it is best to avoid dahlias, day lily, shrimp plant, phlox, star flower and impatiens. Vegetable plants such as corn, tomatoes and peas are also commonly browsed by deer. Instead, opt for less appetizing plants such as iris, angel flower, anise, black-eyed Susan, cone flower, bush daisy, dusty miller, periwinkle, petunia, sage and yucca.
Making a few changes in your landscaping may help prevent damage from deer feeding. However, if you live in an area where there is a great deal of competition for food, you may still have a problem. Homeowners who are suffering extensive damage may want to put some other preventative measures in place to keep deer out.
Installing a fence around your property may help keep deer out, but it will need to be at least eight feet in height to be effective. These types of fences are not aesthetically pleasing and may not be the look you are going for. It most cases, changing the plants in your landscape is enough to prevent serious damage.