What Are Some Deer-Resistant Trees?

Some deer-resistant trees include the Carolina laurel cherry, the bishop pine and species of eucalyptus trees. The Carolina laurel cherry grows to about 35 feet tall. Its leaves and stems are toxic, and it prefers acidic soil that’s kept moist.

The bishop pine is native to California, but can grow in hardiness zones 7 to 9. Deer dislike its sharp needles. Among eucalyptus trees that deer avoid are the round-leaved snow gum and the ghost gum. Deer also dislike fir trees.

Other deer-resistant trees are the American holly and the paw paw. The American holly is a broad-leafed evergreen tree famous for the red berries that remain on the branches throughout winter. The paw paw is a small tree grown in the south for its fruit.

Deer-resistant trees are trees that can withstand the damage caused by deer, either by eating or rubbing. Included in these trees are those that deer generally avoid. The Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station rated different trees as rarely damaged and seldom severely damaged by deer. Some deer-resistant trees that are included in the list are fir, pine, fig, Hawthorn, paper birch, mimosa, red maple, American holly and spruce.

Deer avoid certain trees because they are poisonous to them, if only at specific points in the tree’s growth. Deer may also find the taste and digestibility of these plants unacceptable. Deer will typically not touch plants with prickly leaves and thorny branches or stems. They also don’t like eating feathery, gray or tough leaves or those that give off a pungent smell or strong taste.

Stray deer have increased in population because they have been driven away from their natural habitats by widespread suburban development. As a result, deer damage to residential landscape plants and trees has increased. To address this issue, gardeners and landscapers turn to deer-resistant trees as their choice for landscape trees. They also put up fences and use deer repellents to protect their finished landscape projects.