Evergreens Unappetizing to Deer: A Guide to Deer-Resistant Varieties

Introduction to Deer-Resistant Evergreens

If you live in an area where deer frequently visit gardens, you might be aware of the challenge they can pose, particularly to your favorite evergreen plants. Deer often find evergreens appetizing, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t options available for those seeking to maintain their greenery in the presence of these often-unwanted garden visitors. Here’s an exploration into the world of deer-resistant evergreens.

Understanding What Attracts Deer to Evergreens

Deer are herbivorous mammals with a diet that varies seasonally. Evergreens become an attractive option for them, especially during winter when other food sources are scarce.

Nutritional Value and Taste Preferences

Evergreens can provide necessary nutrients during harsh seasons. However, some varieties are less appealing to deer because of their taste, texture, or lack of nutritional value.

Landscape and Feeding Habits

Deer might be attracted to certain evergreens due to the landscape and their natural feeding habits. Understanding these can help in choosing the right evergreen plants.

Varieties of Evergreens Deer Usually Avoid

Though no plant is entirely “deer-proof,” there are evergreens that are commonly less appealing to deer.

Spruce Trees

Spruce trees, particularly the Colorado blue spruce, are often avoided by deer. Their needles are sharp, and their taste is not preferred by deer.


These evergreen shrubs are generally not favored by deer because of their strong odor and bitter taste. Various species of boxwoods can be considered for deer-resistant landscaping.


Junipers have a pungent aroma and flavor that are typically unattractive to deer. These can be used as an effective part of a deer-resistant garden.

Factors That Influence Deer Resistance

The level of deer resistance in evergreens can depend on various factors, and understanding them is essential for successful gardening.

Local Deer Population and Behavior

The preference for certain evergreens might vary depending on the local deer population and their accustomed diet. Observing local deer behavior can give insight into what they might avoid.

Plant Age and Health

Younger and unhealthy plants might be more appealing to deer. Ensuring that the evergreens are healthy and established can make them less tempting.

Availability of Other Food Sources

The presence of alternative food sources can influence whether deer target your evergreens. A higher availability of preferred food might keep them away from your plants.

Planting and Care Tips for Deer-Resistant Evergreens

Selecting the right varieties is just the beginning. Here are some practices that can further help in maintaining a deer-resistant garden.

Proper Planting Techniques

Planting the evergreens in a way that makes them less accessible or appealing to deer, such as using protective barriers, can be beneficial.

Regular Maintenance

Regular pruning and care can keep the evergreens healthy and less appealing to deer. Attention to the growth pattern and health can deter unwanted nibbling.

Integration with Other Deer-Resistant Plants

Creating a landscape that integrates other deer-resistant plants can provide a comprehensive solution. Mixing textures, smells, and tastes that deer find unappealing can create an effective deterrent.

Final Considerations

Deer-resistant evergreens are not a myth but a reality that can be achieved with proper knowledge and care. Understanding what attracts deer to certain plants and what repels them is key to selecting the right evergreens for your garden. Consideration of local deer behavior, plant age and health, and other environmental factors can further ensure success. With thoughtful planning, it is possible to enjoy a lush evergreen garden without the constant worry of deer damage. The world of deer-resistant evergreens is vast and offers many options for those looking to balance beauty and practicality in their garden landscapes.