Sunday, July 3, 2022
July 3, 2022

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Deer eyeing your garden? Here are plants they don’t like to eat


Spring brings with it blooming gardens and flowers, but some visitors see blooms and new growth as food.

According to the King County Native Plant Guide, the only deer-proof plants are those deer can’t reach, or have yet to find. Deer are grazers and love to snack on new plants and typically munch on clovers and perennials.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife suggests fencing around your favorite, most prized plants as the best way to deter the uninvited dinner guests, as “when deer browsing is moderate to severe, or a landowner isn’t willing to tolerate even a limited amount of damage, fencing to exclude deer is the only option,” the department’s website states.

Here are plants to add to your garden this spring that deer are less likely to eat:

Mock orange: Mock oranges are deciduous shrubs that bloom white flowers. The plant is known for its fragrance and being able to grow in hot or cold, or moist and dry climates.

Bald hip roses: Bald hip roses are deciduous shrubs that bloom pink flowers and small red fruits or hips. These plants can handle a wide range of climates, and have prickles on them, deterring animals such as deer.

Woodland or wild strawberry: Woodland and wild strawberries are both perennial ground-cover plants, only growing about a foot tall at most and blooming white flowers and strawberry fruits. They both require dry to moist climates and partial shade. Deer tend to find these when they’re blooming so that might be the time to fence the plants.

Tall or low Oregon grape: Both tall and low Oregon grape plants are both evergreen shrubs but vary in height and leaflets. Tall Oregon grapes are typically 8 feet tall, as low Oregon grapes are 3 feet tall. Both plants bloom bright yellow flowers and purple fruits.

Pacific wax myrtle: Pacific wax myrtle plants are evergreen shrubs and are native to the Southwest Washington coast. The shrub can grow up to about 15 feet and has small fruits birds commonly eat.

Sword fern: Sword ferns are evergreen ground-cover plants and are well known in the Pacific Northwest. The plants can adapt to moist or dry shaded climates and are typically walked over and forgotten by deer.

Devil’s club: Devil’s clubs are deciduous shrubs and are covered in thorns, deterring deer and other wildlife. The plant blooms with large leaves, white flowers and red berries in clusters.


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