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How to Deter Deer From Your Yard in the Hudson Valley

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Photo courtesy of Edith Katz

Most of us have been there: You spend time, money, and effort creating your garden only to have deer make a meal out of it. Short of erecting fencing or using chemicals, is there anything a home gardener can do? Happily, there are solutions.

If deer are munching on your flowers and shrubs, you need to replace them with varieties that they won’t consume. Deer love hosta, daylilies, English ivy, narrow leaf evergreens like arbor vitae and fir, roses, tulips, yews, and azaleas. Instead, try peonies, ornamental onion (allium), daffodils (narcissus), and any of the iris varieties. In general, the more strongly scented the plant is, the less appealing it is to deer. Here are some more to consider:

FOR SEMI-SHADED GARDENS

  • Foxglove (digitalis), preferably the perennial variety called mertonnensis. Digitalis is poisonous so be careful where it’s planted (don’t put it where kids play).
  • Lenten rose (hellebores)
  • False spirea (astilbbe)
  • Spiderwort (tresdescantia)
  • Ferns of all types
deter deer

Photo courtesy of Edith Katz

FOR SUNNY GARDENS

  • Sages (salvias) and Russian sage varieties (Perovskia)
  • Minty-smelling flowering perennials like agastache (giant hyssops)
  • Catmint varieties (Nepeta)
  • Felt-textured lamb’s ears (stachys lanata)
  • Flowering shrubs in the cinquefoil family (potentilla), spriea, and viburnum
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Prickly plants like Cleome
  • Hardy lavenders, monardas, and butterfly bush

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