A Brief Guide to Deer-Resistant Plants in Seattle

Mar 23 2015

A Brief Guide to Deer-Resistant Plants in Seattle

There’s a word that landscape architects and designers will tell you when you mention deer-proof plants: plastic. Honestly, without turning your backyard into a Barbie paradise, there’s no such thing as “deer proof plants.” The accepted term of phrase in the industry is “deer-resistant.”  These are plants that attempt to dissuade deer from munching away or ones that respond to browsing by putting out more growth.

Deer have an appetite for plants that carry moisture (say goodbye to the bark on your sapling), have a sweet taste, or high-protein plants like alfalfa and corn. They get about 90% of their water from their meals, so any lush or young plants are popular targets. Without adding a wire fence at least 6’ tall around the base of new trees, there’s a good chance it’ll be eaten before it can grow strong enough to survive a hungry deer.

Fortunately, there are plants you can incorporate into your garden or backyard that deer won’t get into unless they’re desperate. As a general rule of thumb, deer tend to avoid strong smells, so oregano, sage, catmint, and others are considered great anti-deer plants. Deer also steer clear from strange or irregular textures in their food, so any fuzzy or prickly plants are a good bet. Cacti, even if used as a barrier around other higher-value plants, are a favorite in that regard.

If a desert style isn’t going to work for your intended backyard remodel, sharp, ornamental grasses in flowerbeds or lining pathways will keep deer from going deeper into your natural spaces. Silver Comet Pampas Grass is a relatively new favorite varietal that can grow up to 6 feet long and last through the winter months with no problems. For a little more color, using purple, pink, and white lavender in planting beds and natural borders.

Here’s a great list of deer-resistant plants, trees, and flowers to use as a reference.

There are several other strategies specific to your home and natural space that we can identify and plan to implement during a complementary consultation. To learn more about Urban Oasis’ work or to schedule your own consultation for an outdoor landscape remodel, give us a call or use the contact form to get in touch.

Featured image source: Pixabay.com.

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