Horticulture Fact Sheets

PLANTS KNOWN TO RESIST DEER BROWSING

             Deer browsing occurs on a varying scale around our region. The following is a list of plants that are known to be relatively deer-resistant in the Ithaca area. They are based on our own observations and customer feedback, as well as other published lists.

           Beware – that which is deer resistant in one neighborhood may not be in another! For plantings that you are concerned about and in areas with high deer populations, proper physical barriers are usually the best method of protection. There are also various chemical and biological repellants available which have success rates that simply vary according to the product and the situation. Our most important advice would be to select plants from these lists as a general guideline in an effort to avoid using more control devices than necessary.

TREES

            Deciduous trees are targets during the rutting season when bucks use the trunks as a tool against which to rub their antlers.  The tree’s structure rather than its genus is often what makes a particular tree more desirable for antler-rubbing.  On the other hand, particular genera have bark and twigs which are tasty to deer and may be damaged even though having a resistant structure.  We strongly recommend the use of trunk protectors to prevent buck rub damage before rutting season (September). We also advise a barrier/fencing around any tree with branches that are not above deer-browse height (~6 ft).

That being said, the following are evergreen trees which deer generally avoid: 

 Picea abies – Norway Spruce

Picea glauca – White Spruce, Black Hills

Spruce

Picea omorika – Serbian Spruce

Picea pungens – Colorado Blue Spruce

*Pinus leucodermis – Bosnian Pine

*Pinus nigra – Austrian Pine

 *These plants are known to be occasionally browsed, but are seldom severely damaged.

SHRUBS

Deciduous:

*Berberis thunbergii – Barberry

*Buddleia sp. – Butterfly Bush

Caryopteris sp. – Blue Mist Shrub

*Forsythia sp. – Forsythia

*Kolkwitzia amabilis – Beautybush

Myrica pensylvanica – Bayberry (semi-evergreen)

Potentilla fruticosa – Potentilla

Rhus aromatic ‘Gro-Low’ – Gro-Low Sumac

Spirea sp. – Spiraea sp. Varieties such as Bridal Wreath, Anthony Waterer, Gold Flame, etc.

*Viburnum p. tomentosum – Doublefile Viburnum

*Viburnum rhytidophyllum – Leatherleaf Viburnum (semi-evergreen)

*Viburnum carlesii – Koreanspice Viburnum

Evergreen:

Buxus sp. – Boxwood

Juniperus chinensis – Chinese Juniper cultivars, such as Hetzii, Green Sargent, Sea Green, Gold

Coast, Blue Point, etc.

Leucothoe fontanesiana – Drooping Leucothoe (zone 6)

Mahonia sp. – Oregon Grapeholly

*Microbiota decussata – Russian Arborvitae/ Siberian Cypress

Picea sp. – Dwarf Spruce cultivars, such as Montgomery Blue Spruce, Birds Nest Spruce, Dwarf

Alberta Spruce, etc.

Pieris japonica – Japanese Andromeda

*These plants are known to be occasionally browsed, but are seldom severely damaged.

PERENNIALS

Acanthus mollis  (Bears Breeches)

Achillea sp.  (Yarrow)

Aconitum sp.  (Monkshood)

Agastache sp.  (Anise Hyssop)

Allium sp. (Flowering Onion)

Amsonia sp. (Blue Star)

*Aquilegia sp. (Columbine)

Arabis caucasica (Rock-Cress)

Arisaema triphylum  (Jack-in-the-Pulpit)

Artemesia sp.  (Silver Mound)

Asclepias sp.  (Butterfly Weed)

Astilbe sp.

Aurinia saxatilis  (Basket-of-Gold)

Aubretia deltoidea  (Purple Rock-Cress)

Baptisia australis  (False Indigo)

*Brunnera macrophylla  (Siberian Bugloss)

Ceratostigma sp.  (Plumbago, Leadwort)

Cimicifuga sp.  (Black Snakeroot, Cohosh)

Convallaria majalis  (Lily-of-the-Valley)

Coreopsis verticillata  (Threadleaf Tickseed)

*Corydalis

Dicentra sp.  (Bleeding Heart)

Digitalis sp.  (Foxglove)

Echinops sp.  (Globe Thistle)

Eupatorium sp.  (Hardy Ageratum, Joe-Pye-Weed)

Euphorbia sp.  (Spurge)

Helleborus sp. (Lenten Rose, Hellebore)

Iberis sp.  (Candytuft)

Lavandula sp.  (Lavender)

*Ligularia sp.

Monarda sp.  (Bee Balm, Bergamot)

Myosotis sp.  (Forget-me-not)

Nepeta sp.  (Catmint)

Opuntia humifosa  (Prickly Pear Cactus)

*Paeonia  (Peony)

Perovskia atriplicifolia  (Russian Sage)

Pulmonaria sp.  (Lungwort)

Rodgersia sp.

Salvia sp.

Stachys byzantine ( Lamb’s Ear)

Lamium maculatum  (Deadnettle)

Thalictrum sp. (Meadow Rue)

Thymus sp.  (Thyme)

Yucca filamentosa  (Yucca)

     These plants are known to be occasionally browsed, but are seldom severely damaged.

GROUNDCOVER

Ajuga reptans  (Bugleweed)

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi  (Bearberry)

Asarum sp. (Wild Ginger, European Ginger)

Epimedium  (Barrenwort)

*Pachysandra terminalis  (Japanese Spurge)

Lamium sp.  (Deadnettle)

Galium odoratum  (Sweet Woodruff)

Liriope sp.  (Lilyturf)

Thymus sp.  (Creeping Thyme)

Vinca minor  (Myrtle, Periwinkle)

ANNUALS

Ageratum

Alyssum

Calendula

Cleome

Dusty Miller

Euphorbia

Heliotrope

Lantana

Nicotiana

Polka-Dot Plant

Purple Fountain Grass

Salvia

Snapdragon

Strawflower

Vinca

BULBS

Allium

Camassia

Chionodoxa  (Glory-of-the-Snow)

Colchicum  (Autumn Crocus)

Eranthus  (Winter Aconite)

Fritillaria  (Crown Imperial)

Galanthus  (Snowdrops)

Hyacinthus  (Hyacinth)

Muscari  (Grape Hyacinth)

Narcissus  (Daffodil)

Scilla siberica  (Siberian Squill)

*These plants are known to be occasionally browsed, but are seldom severely damaged.