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How To Keep Deer From Feeding On Your Plants

Learn how to keep deer from feeding on your plants.

Learn how to keep deer from feeding on your plants.

While deer are beautiful creatures, no homeowner wants to find deer roaming around their lawn and eating food from their garden. Deer can quickly destroy trees, shrubs, and vegetable gardens that you work hard to maintain. Also, deer can carry ticks that spread Lyme disease, so it’s crucial to ensure they stay a safe distance away from your property. Continue reading to learn more about Scientific Plant Service’s Deer Repellent Program and how to keep deer from feeding on your plants.

Use Deer-Resistant Plants

Deer have preferences for feeding on certain plant species. Some plants, both native and ornamental, used for landscaping are preferred as forage by deer. There are some species of plants that deer avoid feeding on because they are less palatable. Though no plants are totally resistant to deer browsing, some are less palatable to deer and are less likely to receive heavy damage.

The following is a list of “deer-resistant” plants or plants that deer don’t normally prefer to eat. People experiencing deer browse damage to their landscape plantings may consider planting some of the species on this list as alternatives to plants that deer prefer and often damage. 


(Plants in BOLD are native to the Mid-Atlantic area)

  • Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis)
  • American Beach (Fagus grandifolia)
  • American Holly (Ilex opaca)
  • Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
  • Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)
  • Chinese Paper Birch (Betula albo sinensis)
  • Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens glauca)
  • Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
  • Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea)
  • Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginica)
  • Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
  • Gingko (Gingko biloba)
  • Heritage Birch (Betula nigra “Heritage”)
  • Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)
  • Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica)
  • Japanese Falsecypress
  • Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa)
  • Paw-Paw (Asimina triloba)
  • Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida)
  • Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
  • Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginica)
  • Sweetgum (Liquidambar styriciflua)
  • Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)


(Plants in BOLD font are native to the Mid-Atlantic area)

  • American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
  • American elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
  • Andromeda (Pieris japonica)
  • Arrowwood (Virburnum dentatum)
  • Beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis)
  • Blackhaw (Viburnum prunifolium)
  • Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis)
  • Button Bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
  • Chinese Holly (Ilex cornuta)
  • Chinese Juniper (Juniperus chinensis)
  • Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
  • Deutzia (Deutzia gracilis)
  • Dwarf Sweet Box (Sarcoccoca hookeriana var. humilis)
  • Fetterbush  (Eubotrys racemosa​)
  • Fothergila (Fothergilla gardenia)
  • Inkberry (Ilex glabra)
  • Japanese Plum Yew (Cephalotaxus harringtonia var. horeana)
  • Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
  • Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
  • Mugo Pine (Pinus mugo)
  • Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia)
  • Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
  • Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
  • Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia}
  • Wax Myrtle (Morella cerifera)
  • Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata)

Flowers And Ferns

(Plants in BOLD font are native to the Mid-Atlantic area)

  • Allegheny Spurge (Pachysandra procumbens)
  • Astilbe (Astilbe sp)
  • Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa)
  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
  • Bleeding Heart (Dicentra exemia) and the non-native (Dicentra spectabilis)
  • Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
  • Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrosticoides)
  • Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
  • Common Dill (Anethum graveolens)
  • Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum)
  • Euphorbia (Euphorbia spp.); some species are native
  • Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana spp.)
  • Foam Flower (Tiarella cordifolia)
  • Foxglove (Digitalis spp.)
  • Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea)
  • Hayscented Fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula)
  • Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)
  • Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphylum)
  • Lady Fern (Athryrium felix-femina)
  • Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
  • Marigold (Tagetes spp.)
  • Monkshood (Aconitum spp.); some native species
  • Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)
  • Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)
  • Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis)
  • Rue Anemone (Thalictrum​ thalictroides)
  • Sage (Salvia spp.)
  • Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)
  • Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
  • Threadleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata)
  • Thyme (Thymus spp.)
  • Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)
  • White Wood Aster (Eurybia divaricata)
  • Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense)
  • Wood Fern (Dryopteris marginalis)
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  • Yucca (Yucca spp.)


(Plants in BOLD font are native to the Mid-Atlantic area)

  • Bluestems (Andropogon spp.)
  • Canada Wildrye (Elymus canadensis
  • Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans)
  • Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
  • Pennsylvania Sedge (Carex pennsylvanicum
  • Purple Lovegrass (Eragrostis spectabilis)
  • Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium)
  • Soft Rush (Juncus effusus)​
  • Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)

Deer Repellent Program

At Scientific Plant Service, we recommend that applications of our organic-based solutions be done twelve months out of the year. To protect your lush growing hosta, flowering annuals, and perennials, bi-weekly treatments may also need to be done. Throughout the year we rotate the use of different products to avoid deer resistance to ensure the solutions are as effective as possible.

While our program will help keep deer from feeding on your plants, it won’t keep deer completely off of your property. This is an important note, as deer transport the deadly “deer tick” which spreads Lyme disease. As additional services we can install tick tubes and treat your property and wood lines where deer travel during the prime tick breeding seasons of spring and fall to stop the deer tick from spreading this disease.

Scientific Plant Service Is Your Go-To Source In Landscape Healthcare

Scientific Plant Service, located in Baltimore, is a privately-owned corporation, chartered in Maryland in 1957 by Frank J. Burke. We started as a full-service Arborist specializing in the care of shade trees and ornamental shrubs, but today we are a lawn and total landscape care company that is a huge part of the community. From aquatic environments and snow management to deer and mole control, SPS has services tailored specifically for your lawn and landscape.

We offer services in Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia, including Harford, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Anne Arundel, Montgomery, Prince Georges, Talbot, Queen Anne’s, and Calvert counties in MD, as well as Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church in VA. For more information, contact us online, or call us at 410-321-0970. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!


This entry was posted on Friday, September 27th, 2019 at . Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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