deer resistant natives for part sun

linrose(6b KY)November 24, 2007

I'm currently preparing a site for seeding to woodland edge natives. This was an area full of blackberry, pokeweed, japanese honeysuckle and other nasties although there were some native asters and goldenrods. We have been whacking and burning the area for three seasons and want to seed next fall. One problem is that part of the area is in a deer run. I made the mistake of planting some tasty plants there last season - well you know the rest.

So my question is, which native grasses and forbs can I plant there? We are in a rural area where there is plenty of food for the deer so the pressure is fairly low. I just don't want to tempt fate if they are walking by and their favorite treats are there for the taking.

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Grasses are deer resistant, Why? Deer are browsers, not grazers. So you can plant most any grass without worry about the deer.

Other natives. Pressure by deer is extremely high here so I have to choose very carefully. I've also found nothing is 100%, but here are some natives that I have found great plants for deer resistancy:

Cassia hebecarpa - Wild Senna
Jeffersonia diphillea - Twinleaf (woodland)
Podophyllum peltatum - Mayapple (woodland)
Arisaema species - Jack in the pulpit species (woodland)
Pachysandra procumbens - Alleghany spurge (native pachysandra)
Allium species - wild/flowering onions, wild leeks, etc.
Arundinaria gigantea - canebrake (our only native) bamboo
Asimina triloba - Pawpaw (small tree)
Ilex opaca - American Holly

These have all proven their worth in my garden and woods. Another shrub/small tree is Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis). They do eat it to some degree, but it's good for other wildlife as well.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 11:10AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

We have lots of asters, goldenrod, and milkweed that the deer have never touched here. You could also try boneset, joe pye weed, virginia creeper (probably find its way there all on its own), black cohosh, etc.

I wouldn't expect the deer to munch much on many of native plants that are also used for herbal medicine (such as boneset). Many of those plants have strong tastes, smells, or too much toxicity for deer to bother. Obviously that doesn't hold for 100% of the time, but it could help steer you away from the choice deer edibles.


    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 11:17AM
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linrose(6b KY)

Great info, thanks. I can do asters and goldenrods! Maybe if I mix some in with tall grasses in the deer run they will move on to tastier browsing. I like the idea of tall plants there, it is in a low spot that I think the NE asters and Joe Pye Weed would love. Do you think Big Bluestem would do OK there too? I think it likes more moisture than Little Bluestem. What about Baptisia, Culver's Root, echinaceas, rudbeckias or heliopsis?

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 11:45AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

> What about Baptisia, Culver's Root, echinaceas, rudbeckias or heliopsis?

Sure! If you are unsure how something may work out, get just a few plants or a small bit of seed and try that first before investing much money. A place like Prairie Moon Nursery may give you some ideas for other part/sun natives. Here's their link:


Here is a link that might be useful: Prairie Moon

    Bookmark   November 27, 2007 at 2:34PM
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