Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Bears -Phooey--Deer!! Oh, My!!

I didn’t think I had a “deer problem.” I loved watching a family of four traipse across my yard last Fall, and then again in the snow. I even felt sorry for them. “How cute!”, I said to my daughter. How quaint to have these mild, graceful creatures galloping across our lawn. They’ve been left homeless by people like us, people in crowded, new developments. How sad, I thought. How proud I am to have a garden that’s welcoming to wildlife. 

Today is a perfect day: 74 degrees, the air perfumed with hyacinths, the cherry trees in full glory. I put my daughter down for her nap and sit down on my patio with a cup of tea and the latest issue of Fine Gardening. What more could I ask for? The tufted titmice sing from the maple tree, “peter, peter, peter,” and the robins answer “pretty, pretty, pretty.” Bees buzz around the cherry blossoms, and there’s the sound of crunching...munching...deer 2 feet from my front door, snarfing up the poor pansies! Ugh!! What’s wrong with this picture?! How could I be so naive, so gullible, so susceptible to those big, doe eyes? I think of my hostas, peeking out through the mulch, snipped off before they can even soak up any sun. I even feel for the azaleas, which I don’t even like! It hits me like a bullet in the wallet - I have a deer problem, and I’m about to lose big-time. So what do we do?

Logic says plant deer resistant plants; but anyone who lives near more than three trees will tell you that when deer are hungry, deer will eat - anything. There are some deer repellents available, and they may deter small numbers of deer. All of the following may be used:
human hair, soap, feathermeal, bloodmeal, creosote, mothballs, tankage and commercial chemical repellents. For best results, use a combination of repellents and rotate their use. 

Following is a list of plants and their deer resistance, compiled by the Virginia Cooperative Extension:
Barberry Paper birch American boxwood English Boxwood Russian olive American holly Drooping leucothoe Colorado blue spruce Japanese pieris Oregon grape holly Butterfly bush
Slight Damage
European white birch American bittersweet Red osier dogwood Flowering dogwood Kousa dogwood English hawthorn Redvein enkianthus European beech Forsythia
Honey locust Chinese holly Inkberry Chinese junipers (green) Chinese junipers (blue) Mountain laurel Beautybush
Norway spruce White spruce Austrian pine Pitch pine Mugo pine
Red pine Scots pine Japanese flowering cherry Corkscrew willow Common sassafras Common lilac Japanese wisteria
Moderate Damage
White fir Red maple Common horsechestnut Trumpet creeper Panicled dogwood Cotoneaster Rockspray cotoneaster Border forsythia Rose of Sharon Climbing hydrangea Japanese holly Eastern red cedar Goldflame honeysuckle Saucer magnolia Virginia creeper Eastern white pine Sweet cherry Firethorn Common pear Chestnut oak Deciduous azaleas Rosebar rhododendron Multiflora rose Willows Bridalwreath spiraea Japanese tree lilac
Greenspire littleleaf Basswood Carolina hemlock Leatherleaf viburnum Koreanspice virburnum Paperbark maple
Silver maple Downy serviceberry Japanese flowering quince Smokebush Cranberry cotoneaster Japanese cedar Common witchhazel Smooth hydrangea Panicle hydrangea China girl/boy holly European larch Privet Dawn redwood Sweet mock orange Bush cinquefoil Douglas fir Bradford callery pear White oak Northern red oak Carolina rhododendron Staghorn sumac Rugosa rose Anthony waterer spiraea Persian lilac Late lilac Linden Eastern hemlock Judd viburnum Doublefile viburnum Oldfashion weigela
Severe Damage
Balsam fir Norway maple Atlantic white cedar Cornelian dogwood Wintercreeper Apples Plums Evergreen azaleas Pinxterbloom azalea European mountain ash Yews Fraser fir Eastern redbud Clematis Winged euonymus English ivy Cherries Rhododendrons Catawba rhododendron Hybrid tea rose English/Japanese hybrid yew English yew Japanese yew Western yew American arborvita Aucuba Big leaf hydrangea

1 comment:

  1. "That's true. Hungry deer will eat deer resistant plants. Have you tried deer off? It's the only truly organic repellent available (it has an OMRI logo on the label). William moss on the CBS morning show said you should look for this logo to ensure it's actually organic.
    Here's the repellent I use:"