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Oh Deer: Keep Deer From Eating Your Plants

Deer can be a real hazard to the health of your ornamental plants and shrubbery. They can easily eat expensive landscaping down to a useless stump. According to an article by Tree Care Industry Association, deer in urban neighborhoods have been on the rise, and so is the damage they do. In the cold of winter, neighborhoods that are increasingly close to wooded areas find their backyard leaves, shrubs, and ornamental tress make easy pickings for deer. When you need a tree service in Portland, OR to help maintain the health of your greenery, contact Mr. Tree. In the meantime, here are some tips for making them less appealing to deer.

Deer-Proofing You Trees and Landscapetree service Portland, OR

Deer develop preferences for specific plants, but will eat almost any plant when the pickings get scarce. Luckily in the Portland, Oregon area we don’t have snow too often, so deer don’t tend to be starving. Deer become more of an issue for the landscaping and trees around homes on the edge of large wooded parks or near forest land. For those who find deer in their yard on a regular basis, here are a couple ways to dissuade them.

  • Fencing – Because deer will adapt to trying to eat just about anything, fencing is the best bet to keeping them from eating your landscaped plants and trees. An 8-foot fence is suggested
  • Repellent – Some repellents you can make at home that are purported to work include a rotting egg mixture: 2 eggs per gallon of water, sprayed on the plants; human hair strung throughout the plants or in mesh bags keep the guise of human activity in the vicinity; hang strong smelling soaps on the trees and shrubs. One repellent you can buy is urine from predatory animals, such as wolves or mountain lions, which can be sprayed on and around the plants. Keep in mind that the smell dissipates and will need to be sprayed on a weekly basis.

Plant to Discourage Deer

Shrubs and Climbers

Shrubs that grow vertically and get tall are more apt to survive deer, as they will have foliage at the top that deer cannot reach. Some good ones include: bearberry, boxwood, pawpaw, American Bittersweet, caryopteria, European privet, Japanese andromeda, Blueberry elder, Morris holly, John T. Morris holly, rose of Sharon. red oseir dogwood, Japanese plum-yew, and creeping wintergreen.


Trees that tend to be less attractive and/or more hardy when deer pick at them are: Colorado blue spruce, bottlebrush buckeye, Japanese cedar, down serviceberry, Japanese false cypress, shadbush, paper birch, Allegheny serviceberry, heritage birch, Chinese paper birch, and pinion pine.

Talk to your garden center about the shrubs that are best for the area, and ask an arborist about the trees on the above list that fit well in your space and will thrive on the northwest climate. If you need tree removal in Portland, OR of those pesky deer-encouraging trees, contact Mr. Tree.