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"Where you a/ways get the help you need"

"Deer Resistant Gardening" March 27/ 2010

Presented By

James Brophy


1051 US Highway 202, Ringoes, NJ 08551 (908) 788-2600

NJ Deer Facts

There are reports that have estimated the population of White tail deer at nearly 200}000 in the state of New Jersey.

Did you know?

- A deer's nose is about 100x more sensitive than ours.

- A deer can ju mp a 9-foot fence.

Deer are the largest animals that are adapted to eating plants.

- A deer's stomach is able to digest different foods at specific times of the year} which explains why certain plants are eaten at particular times of the year.

Deer thrive in todav's environment because they thrive on land with borders and edge habitats. As we have divided land and the human population has increased, we have created a more suitable habitat for the whitetail deer.

- There are no natural predators to deer in NJ in high enough numbers to control the deer population except for humans} motorists and dogs.

Each year over 10}000 deer carcasses are picked up off of NJ roads!

Deer are opportunistic feeders} capable of utilizing hundreds of plant species and incapable of recognizing property boundaries. Because of this} any new home that's built in prime deer habitat will eventually be investigated a nd tested.

If the deer like the human-modified environment, they will establish a feeding pattern.

Believe it or not, a mature forest is not deer habitat. (A forest consisting of large trees, which act to shade the forest floor and deprive young trees and shrubs of life-giving sunlight, offers little for deer to feed on)

HOWEVER} the deer do love the edges of the forest}. which is usually where your home is located! (Deer like the areas where sunlight reaches the ground here; it provides palatable and available plants for deer. So, putting a house or housing development in the middle of a large expanse of mature forest will create a favorable environment for deer, by creating much "edge" habitat.

Palatabihtv studies indicate that deer prefer certain ornamentals over others and in some situations certain ornamentals are not preferred by deer at all.

Deer prefer succulent plants.

From April through June, grass shoots and fresh leaves are available for deer. Deer prefer fresh foods to most plants} even ornamentals.

Inconveniences brought on by deer

Because deer are browsing animals, there are many inconveniences that they pose to a homeowner.

• They like to eat a variety of different plants, fruits, vegetables, and grains.

• Well fertilized and watered landscapes and gardens can be much more desirable to the deer than surrounding common ground areas that are likely not watered or fertilized.

• Deer can kill or remove smaller trees and some plants or plant beds entirely.

• Bucks often damage smaller trees through the rubbing of their antlers on the tree as they prepare for the mating season.

• Deer carry ticks, which carry Lyme disease.

• Deer damage occurs the most during April through June.

• Ornamental plants are usually damaged by deer January through March.

• July - September are typically the least troublesome time as wildlife foods are more available.

Damages Caused by Deer

• Because deer have no upper incisors, they tend to tear vegetation using their lower incisors and their upper palate. Thus, the damaged planthas a teared, jagged edge.

• Male deer (bucks) also damage trees and saplings by rubbing them with their antlers, resulting from bark being scrapped off.

• Deer will also trample on plants (typically a doe) when they discover that they have chosen a plant that is distasteful.

• Deer will damage all classes of plants from expensive ornamentals, fruit trees to vegetable crops and beautiful flower gardens.

Rutting flMatingll Season

October is the IIMating" season for deer .. This in combination with the availability of acorns, and other wild nuts and vegetation make the likelihood of damage to your landscape less .. However, like any other potential "less damaging" season, this does not mean that they won't wander into your garden and sample things.

What can you do to prevent deer damage?

• Use plants that are listed on Rutgers Nursery Deer Resistant list.

• Use plants that are very course in texture or hurt to touch, such as barberry.

• Use plants that have a slight foul odor when you get: close to them.

• Use plants that are blue/gray in color or have yellow needles as deer have difficulty seeing them.

• Use masses of evergreens (6' and up) in rows of 2-3.

• Plant larger trees and install fencing around trunks of flowering & shade trees.

• Protect plants that are susceptible to deer damage by surrounding them with plants that are deer resistant.

• Use larger trees that deer can't reach the leaves to eat.

• Dog and animal urine around perimeters can help to reduce damage.

• Prune larger plants into tree form to keep deer from eating.

• Do not provide winter feed or salt for deer.

• Use plastic mesh fencing which is lightweight, sturdy and easy to install. This type of fencing is practically invisible since it is black in color.

• Using deer repellants. The use of commercial deer repellants is helpful such as t.lquld Fence which contains egg bases. Repellants have been proven to be 85-100% effective, however, after heavy rains it is recommended that you reapply the repellant.

• Alternating between different repellants (usually every six months) also helps keep deer away from your garden.

"Where you 1I1WlIYS get the help you need'

Top .1/2511 Deer Resistant Plants

1. Boxwood - Shrub

2. Pieris Japonica (Andromeda)- Shrub

3. Pachysandra - Groundcover

4. Spiraea - Shrub

20. Yucca- Perennial

5. Barberry - Shrub

21. Ornamental Grasses

6. Excelsa Arborvitae - Shrub

22. Ajuga· Groundcover

7. Caryopteris (Blue Mist) - Shrub

23. Bearberry - Groundcover/Shrub

8. Juniper - Shrub

24. Flowering Vlnca- Annual

9. Buddlea- Shrub

25. Cleoma- Annual

10. Viburnum- Shrub

11. Spruce - Shrub/Tree

12. River Birch - Tree

13. Cypress I Gold Thread - Shrub

14. Daphne - Shrub



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15. Coreopsis - Perennial

16. Nepeta - Perennial

17. Salvia - Perennial

18. Ligularia - Perennial

19. Ferns - Perennial

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