Shrubs are attractive to deer because they usually are just about the right height for a grazing deer. Deer resistant shrubs can be classified about the same way we classify deer resistant trees – that is those species that are not around deer. This is obviously not ideal if you live in an area with a deer population. The good news is that there are shrubs that deer do not prefer. Deer tend not to like shrub foliage that is sticky, hairy, feathery, or emits an order that is not appealing. Deer also tend to develop regional tastes for shrubs. Shrubs that are native to an area may not be preferred or may be ignored by deer because they did not develop a taste for that shrub species. However, a a hungry deer can very quickly acquire a taste for a shrub that seemed resistant in the past.
Some deer resistant bushes would be those shrubs that repel deer because of their spines or stickers – these include plants such as the Barberry and Holly. Deer very seldom attack the barberry and holly species. The Boxwoods are also fairly deer resistant because the deer do not care for for their taste or smell. Another shrub that does show some regional deer resistance is the lilac. But in some areas deer seem to treat lilacs as just another plant on their diet. We always suggest researching a local list of resistant shrubs to identify those shrubs and hedges that exude deer resistance in your area. Our suggestions of deer reisistant bushes come from experiences of growers and data pulled from broad areas of the United States.