One of the first questions I ask every client is ‘do you have deer’? The second question is ‘if so, how bad are they’? Deer are present in almost every neighborhood we work in, but there is a lot of variation in how destructive they are to the plants. Read on for my tips on landscaping with deer.
My three rules for landscaping with deer
(Deer damage to Emerald Green Arborvitae – Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald’ and to Hosta sp.)
1. Know your neighbors. I know – this sounds strange, but when I want to get a sense for how bad the deer are in an area I look at properties throughout the neighborhood, not just my client’s. Is deer damage primarily in the front or back yard? Is it mainly on properties that border the woods? Are some neighbors still able to have hydrangeas and hostas? Or is everyone planting juniper? Especially if you are moving to a new property, consider asking your neighbors about what the deer are eating in their yard – it will probably be some of the most useful information you can get.
2. Know your property. Deer are creatures of habit – they tend to walk through the same parts of a property and steer clear of others. The part of your property that backs up to a creek – they probably pass through on their way for a drink. The area between your house and the driveway – they may stay out of to avoid walking near your car. By observing how the deer behave on your property you can create zones of deer resistance – choosing the most resistant plants for the most impacted areas and enjoying the least resistant ones where the deer are less likely to go.
3. Know your plants. Now that you have a sense for how bad the deer are in your neighborhood and which parts of your property are most likely to be affected by them you can decide which plants will be best in which areas. In addition to our own experience we rely on the Pender County Deer List for information on which plants are seldom, occasionally, and frequently damaged.
Interested in gardening even though you have deer? We can help! Contact Bright Leaf Landscaping at (919) 475-1015 or fill out our online contact form. Landscape design and installation are our expertise, and we are always happy to meet with new clients to discuss potential projects!