Even though the last of the cold hasn’t allowed plant life to wake up yet, the landscape industries always prep this time of year to hit the ground running. My design-build company, Flourish Design, gets a head start by installing hardscape patios, decks, ponds, and stonework. If you’re worried about what the deer might eat once the spring arrives, now is the time to start planning your replacements.
Here are my top three choices to swap out some of the plants I’ve seen hit the hardest my deer.
One: Hosta are both a gardener’s favorite and a deer favorite. The two perennials I prefer that have been very deer resistant for me are Brunnera and Hellebore. Both of these substitutions enjoy shade and just like hosta, are enjoyed for their foliage.
Two: Taxus have been hit hard by deer browsing from what I’ve seen. Unfortunately, this was a popular plant for many older homes. Mature stands of Taxus that have been nibbled to the quick can be substituted with Schip Laurel up to zone 6. Boxwoods are an excellent choice where you just need to replace Taxus with an attractive evergreen.
Three: Roses are surprisingly tasty to deer despite their thorns. I’ve seen many Knockout Rose buds nibbled before they had a chance to open. Try a Miss Kim or Korean Lilac for a similar size shrub with a spring bloom.
How many hundreds of dollars of plant material have the deer eaten in your yard? Would you invest under $20 to learn how to grow plants the deer won’t eat?
If you need more ideas, I have the complete guide available on our home page. For a few pointers, you can start with the free Tipsheet once you subscribe to the email newsletter!
Here’s what my clients are saying: ‘Michelle took our landscape off the Zagat survey for best stops for deer. The new plants she chose for us are flourishing and we are enjoying our yard for the first time in years!’ – Norm, Amberley Village Resident.