Deer are lovely animals to observe in the wild, but they can demolish garden beds, shrubs, and trees in record time (particularly in the spring and fall).
With that said, a little bit of planning and prevention can help keep deer out of your yard. By selecting deer-resistant flowers and shrubs, the chances of your garden and landscape becoming deer dinner will be much lower. Check out these 8 deer-resistant shrubs that allow you to admire Bambi from afar instead of worrying about chasing them out of your yard all season long.
1. Barberry: In addition to being deer-resistant, Barberry shrubs are low-maintenance, offer colorful red-hued foliage, and tend to be disease-resistant. Japanese barberry (B.thunbergii) has a reputation for being invasive, but plenty of other varieties of this hardy, tough, thorny shrub are not invasive—and lovely to look at. Barberry has relatively moderate water requirements and enjoys full to partial sun.
2. Boxwood: These broadleaf evergreen shrubs have been popular for centuries. They can be pruned into any shape you desire or allow them to let their hair down and grow in natural form, which is also an attractive addition to any landscape. Boxwood prefers evenly moist, well-draining soil and does well with some winter protection.
3. Forsythia: These deciduous, deer-resistant shrubs are actually related to the olive tree, interestingly enough. Their brilliant yellow flowers will add a show-stopping flair to your yard in the springtime and are relatively easy to care for. Forsythia will thrive in full sun and well-draining soil.
4. Lilac: Lilac is best known for its fragrant, pastel-hued blooms that grace gardens across North America each spring. They are a hardy, deciduous, deer-resistant shrub that can grow from diminutive dwarf cultivars to 20 feet tall and spread up to 20 feet wide, depending on variety.
5. Mugo Pine: Mugo Pine are evergreen, low-maintenance shrubs that are both deer and disease resistant. They are quite cold-hardy as well, thriving in zones 2 through 7. They don’t generally need to be pruned, drought-resistant once established, and add year-round interest to any landscape.
6. Viburnum: This group of flowering shrubs includes more than 150 plant species, including both deciduous and evergreen shrubs. They are truly versatile and a fan favorite among many landscapers and gardeners. Birds may feast on the berries of your viburnum shrub, but you will also be treated to visits from pollinators like bees.
7. Beautybush: A member of the honeysuckle family, this deer-resistant flowering shrub will add color to your yard with white and pink flowers that blossom on arching branches. Once its flowers are gone for the year, the beautybush’s dark green foliage and small berries will continue to provide interest in your landscape all season long. Beautybush grows best in fertile, well-draining soil and is mildly shade-tolerant.
8. Spirea: As one of the most popular flowering shrubs, spirea is a wonderful, multi-faceted addition to any landscape. While it is deer-resistant, this shrub will attract pollinators like bees and butterflies with its long-lasting blooms. Spirea will bud out in either spring or summer, depending on the variety you select.
With a little bit of landscape deer-proofing, you can happily enjoy deer from a distance and keep your beautiful yard and garden intact. Looking for deer-resistant shrubs in Des Moines? Stop by the garden center to see what we have in stock and chat with our in-house landscaping experts for some other tips and tricks you can try as well!