Homeowners looking for deer-resistant plants

A natural approach to keep the increased deer population away
A natural approach to keep the deer population away from their lawns and gardens
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 6:08 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Earlier this month, KY3 reported a high population of deer in the state of Missouri. That prompted the Missouri Department of Conservation to add two new hunting seasons for 2023.

It’s not just hunters getting interested in the abundant deer population this year. William “Ross” Hyde of Wickman’s Garden Village also saw a response to that with an increase in business.

“It’s a big problem here for most,” Hyde said. “You’d be surprised by how many people come in that are within the city that are having trouble.”

Customers coming in for help have one question in mind that they ask first. What plants do you have that are deer-resistant? While other methods like fencing and spraying repellent can work at keeping deer away, experts say that there are some natural properties in some plants and shrubs that can keep deer from chowing down on your lawn or garden.

“For those that pick up some hollies, they’ll have a waxy coating on the leaf,” Hyde says. “That could serve as a deterrent to the deer. Some of the spruce trees will have a harder needle shape to the leaves to make them unappealing to deer. Plus, some plants and shrubs will have a strong scent that will set them off.”

Hyde is referring to a strong scent that plants like rosemary, sage, and peonies can emit and keep deer from eating the leaves of the plants. Hyde and other experts also point out that plants with a prickly or sharp texture or leaves with that texture will typically be unappetizing to any roaming deer.

In addition, the Farmer’s Almanac states that deer will also tend to stay away from any poisonous plants like poppies, foxgloves, and daffodils.

While no plant will ever be deer-proof, and unless the deer are desperate for food, there are a variety of plants and shrubs that can serve to minimize any unwanted deer from damaging your lawn or garden.

We have links to a list from Rutgers University, the Missouri Department of Conservation, and the University of Missouri Extension to help get you started.

Homeowners can also reach out to their local garden center for additional advice on how to enjoy their lawn and garden during this abundant deer season.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com