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Are the deer abundant in your home yard?
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If the answer is yes, a good way to prevent them from browsing in your landscape is to plant ornamental plants that deer do not like to eat.

Gary L. Wade, an Extension horticulturist at the University of Georgia, writes that deer like nutrition rich plants, especially in spring and summer when the does are pregnant and young deer are growing. Fertilized plants found in most home landscapes provide protein, energy-rich carbs, minerals and salts. Deer especially like young, succulent vegetation in moisture-rich soils.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a 100 percent deer-resistant plant, but over the years, with human population growing and natural settings shrinking, deer compete for food. Deer especially love plants such as black-eyed Susans, hostas, azaleas and roses.

To discourage deer from destroying your gardens, products include spray repellents, wind chimes, high pitched sounds and electric fences. The most effective and least expensive method is to plant food sources the deer do not like.

One of the most reliable methods is to plant scented plants such as lantana, catmint, chives, mint or sage near your plants that deer frequently browse. Plants with strong scents are less likely to be eaten by deer. Deer have very sensitive noses and do not like strong smells.

Also, try planting new plants that deer seem to avoid, such as butterfly bush, snapdragons, iris and many types of ferns. Shrubs such as barberry, crape myrtle and yucca are good deer-resistant choices too.

Deer resistant trees include Kousa dogwood, Southern magnolia and tulip poplar.

There are many more plants the homeowner can choose from. The Extension office has a complete listing of annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees that have been researched and found to be deer resistant in our area.

You can also go to the University of Georgia College of Agriculture website and look up circular 985/April 2010. This publication has a complete listing of ornamental plants that are deer resistant.

Wanda Cannon is a Master Gardener trained through the Hall County program and also serves as Master Gardener coordinator and horticulture assistant for the Hall County Extension office. Phone: 770-535-8293.

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