Deer resistant trees can be defined as any tree that is not “preferred” by deer. Not very assuring is it? But there are trees that deer do not prefer. Deer tend not to like foliage that is sticky, hairy, feathery, or omits an order that deer do not like. Deer also tend to develop regional tastes. Trees that are native to an area may not be preferred or be ignored by deer because the deer did not develop a taste for that specific tree. The problem with relying on a non-preferred taste of a tree is that this varies by deer population and hunger. A hungry deer very quickly can acquire a taste for a tree that seemed resistant in the past.
Rutting male deer also cause problems for some trees. The male deer seek out younger trees to rub their antlers on in the spring which can severly damage the bark or deform the young tree. This can be thwarted by placing 4 sturdy stakes on each side of the tree. The deer will move on to a more favorable place to rub. As a general rule, evergreen trees that tend to be ignored by deer include species of juniper, pines, firs and spruces. Deciduous trees that exhibit deer resistance include Paw Paw, Black Tupelo, Mimosa, Red Maple, Japanese Maple, Black Locust, Sweetgum, Mulberry and Black Walnut. Listed are all species that we consider to be deer resistant trees.