Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


Posts Tagged ‘deer’

The Deer’s Perspective

Feed me rainbows from MARCO MORANDI on Vimeo.

Maybe I should be a little more sympathetic towards the deer browsing the gardens we install. If this is their experience, who am I to begrudge…

Deer Deciduous

Mission olive

Mission olive

“All I know is that I don’t know.” Operation Ivy

Now that the terms stress deciduous and drought deciduous are somewhat established, I want to coin another phrase: deer deciduous. A lot of the deer-resistant plants get browsed for the first couple of years, periodically losing some or all of their foliage. Sometimes they grow out of it, sometimes they don’t. The plants don’t die, many are able to keep growing and get their foliage out of reach or they develop harder less-palatable leaves as they age and require less water, but it seems like a big percentage of the plants on deer-resistant lists will lose some foliage during their first few seasons. Deer deciduous.

This olive would be an example. I really didn’t think it would go so completely deciduous, poor thing. Though, now that I check, I do find a few sites on the web saying that the deer will eat them. Sunset has them on the deer-resistant list, but that list is probably the least reliable thing in the whole book. We ended up bringing the olive back to our place for the summer because of a change in construction plans at its new home, and it’s now carefully putting out new leaves. It’ll recover completely, and when we replant it we’ll spray it with Liquid Fence, which is somewhat effective, or we’ll cage it until it’s taller than the deer. It’s an olive; they’re survivors. I’m surprised that it got eaten, but probably I should just be surprised that I am surprised.

I like the Las Pilitas rating system and list of ratings for deer, though his list is for a different part of the state and our deer population disagrees with him on certain points. We’ve never had heavy browsing from anything that he rates a 9 or a 10, though, so that’s been reliable. The list only includes California natives, but some comparisons can be made for non-natives. Toxic is best along with grassy or spiky, scented foliage is next, tiny hard leaves are pretty good, followed by larger hard leaves sometimes being good, sticky or very fuzzy might work, and after that you better have your fingers crossed.

Update: As Daffodil Planter and the author herself, Carolyn Singer, pointed out, the two volumes of Deer In My Garden are a good print resource for gardening with deer.

ryan 3/31