Choosing Deer Resistant Flowers For Shade
If you are planning to plant some shade trees or shrubs, then it’s always good idea to choose some species with high resistance against deer. There are many types of shade tree and shrub varieties available in the market today. Some of them have very low tolerance towards deer, while others can tolerate only small numbers of deer but not any other animal.
But what type of plants do you need?
Well, you may want to consider the following factors when choosing your shade plants:
1) Size – A large number of deer will cause damage to your plants.
Smaller shade trees and shrubs are better suited for your area. You don’t want them trampling over each other, which would result in loss of leaves and eventually death of the plant.
2) Color – If you have a choice between two shades of color, pick one that is darker than the surrounding foliage.
Dark colors tend to attract more attention from deer.
3) Texture – Choose plants that are smooth and waxy.
They’re less likely to get damaged by sharp objects such as branches, rocks, etc.
4) Flowering Time – Shrubs usually flower earlier than trees or bushes.
So if you have a choice between two flowering time options, choose the later one since it’ll be easier for your plants to bloom at their best quality during this season.
5) Yearly Growth – Some plants grow and bloom at a much faster rate than others.
It’s better to choose the slow growing type as they’re more likely to survive when there is a large number of deer in the area.
6) Location – If you can, place your plants in less accessible locations such as on the edges of a slope or on the side of a hill.
Also avoid putting them in locations where there is poor sunlight.
7) Seed Dispersal – If the deer in your area eat the flower or acorn of your plant, then you’re going to have a serious problem on your hands.
You should choose plants that have animals spread their seeds naturally rather than eating them.
In addition to the factors above, you may also want to think about some of the following choices:
1) Red Maples – They’re beautiful shade trees that seem to do well in any environment.
They grow at a medium speed and are usually resistant to most types of deer in your region. The only real problem you may have is their large size. If you live in an area where space is limited, then maybe you should choose a smaller tree instead.
2) Dogwoods – These are some of the most beautiful shade trees you can choose.
They’re usually small enough to fit in a medium sized yard and grow at a medium rate. The only real problems with these trees is that they have low tolerance for deer activity and their red colored leaves seem to be irresistible to deer.
3) Tulip Trees – If you live in an area where Oak Trees are not suitable, then you can go with these.
They grow at a very slow rate and are usually resistant to deer activity. The only problem you may have is that they tend to have scarce flowering cycles.
4) Redbuds – These are one of the earliest flowering trees you can choose.
They grow at a medium speed and usually have low tolerance towards deer activity. The trees themselves are beautiful and can add a nice touch to your yard.
Remember that these are just some suggestions you can go by. It’s your choice on what you’re going to put in your yard. Just make sure to do your research before hand.
Step 3: Maintenance and Irrigation
While having a nicely landscaped yard is important, it’s not going to mean anything if you don’t maintain your plants on a regular basis. Depending on the types of plants you have, you’re going to need to water them weekly or daily. Once again it all depends on the type of plants you have.
Keep in mind that most types of plants need more than just water to survive. You’re going to need to buy special fertilizers for certain plants and this is very important to their growth.
Another thing to think about is soil quality and sun exposure. If your soil is lacking in nutrients, then you’re definitely not going to get the results you’re looking for. A quick look in your yard should tell you what kind of soil type you have and what needs to be added to it.
Lastly, if you have any flowers or plants that deer are attracted to, then you’re either going to need to put up a fence or think about replacing them with a less appetizing option. I know from experience that it’s very frustrating to work so hard on your plants just for a herd of deer to come along and eat everything. It’s more trouble than it’s worth.
However, some people find humor in watching the deer enjoy their yard.
These are just some things to think about when you’re maintaining your landscape. It may seem like a lot of work at first, but once you get into a routine, it’ll be on autopilot.
One important thing though, is to remember to NEVER remove more than a third of any plant in any given year. They need time to grow and if you chop too much off then it may not recover.
Just remember to enjoy yourself and take your time with the planting. If you rush things, then you’re not going to have as much fun in the long run.
Step 1: Plant Trees
Hardwood or Softwood – Which one should I plant?
This is a common question that many people have when it comes to planting trees in their yard. The answer is a little more complex than you might think.
Most people know that Hardwood trees refers to trees that retain a hard outer layer throughout the year (ie. Oak Trees). Softwood trees refer to the ones that shed their leaves during winter (ie.
However, when you go out to buy trees, you might notice that not all of them fall into these two categories. There are a couple others that fall under “Special Categories”
These are deciduous conifers and evergreen conifers.
Deciduous conifers are just what they sound like. They retain their needles (or leaves) for more than one year, but then shed them yearly. These include Pines, Cypress and some evergreens.
Evergreen conifers are exactly as the name suggests. They retain their needles throughout their life which includes most types of pines and some types of cedars.
So which one should you go with?
Well, it’s going to be mainly based on your personal taste. Some people say that conifers look better as they can make a more uniform line. Also, conifers tend to grow at a faster rate and will typically be larger than hardwoods, thus needing to be planted less often.
Hardwoods look more “natural” in most people’s eyes and tend to be a little cheaper. Being smaller, you can plant them more often (every 5 years or so) thus giving your landscape a more natural look and feel with larger numbers.
When planting any kind, it’s always best to plant them in groups. No matter if they’re conifers, hardwoods or whatever else, they look better in clusters instead of being planted alone.
Make sure that when you do plant any kind of trees that the soil is good and fertile. Nothing is more disappointing that spending all that money on some nice looking trees, to have them die because the soil they are planted in is lacking in something.
Start out by getting a soil test to see which nutrients are lacking in your particular soil. This will tell you what you need to put back into the soil in order to get the most out of your trees as far as growth and longevity are concerned.
Once you have your trees, remember to water them well and keep the area that they are planted in weeded. Weeds will compete with your trees for food and water, but more importantly they will try to steal nutrients from the trees through “root competition”.
Watering Tip: If you’re having problems getting your plants to grow, it could be due to a lack of moisture in the air. If this is the case, you can water your plants much less, as the water in the soil will remain for quite some time and will be slowly absorbed as needed.
Watering trees properly is the key to their survival.
Maintaining trees is very important if you want them to grow and thrive. It’s also rather simple.
You should keep an eye on the trees and examine them often. You are looking mainly for holes in the bark or wounds of any kind. These can be insects, mold or fungus or even something more sinister like a predator trying to eat it.
If you find anything, address the problem immediately as this will most likely lead to death.
If it is an insect infestation, you will need to smother the tree with soapy water. This will help drown the insects and they will wash off when it rains. You can also use pesticides, but these are best used sparingly as they can be damaging to the environment and any animals that may drink from the tree.
Any wounds should be covered with tree wound putty or you can simply cover it with a strip of burlap and tie it on securely.
These are the most important things to check on your trees. After that, just make sure they are getting enough water.
That’s it. You’re all set and ready to go. Just remember to keep an eye on your trees and your yard in general.
If you do this, then you should have the start of a nice little landscape in no time at all.
It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, there’s always something to do outside. From cleaning up the yard in the spring to taking in all of the sights and smells of nature in the fall. There’s just something about being out in nature that makes you feel good.
So, the next time you have some free time and want to get away from it all, grab a lawn chair and head outside. You’ll be glad you did.
Sources & references used in this article:
The response of heather (Calluna vulgaris) to shade and nutrients–Predictions of the carbon-nutrient balance hypothesis by GR Iason, AJ Hester – Journal of Ecology, 1993 – JSTOR
50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants: The Prettiest Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs, and Shrubs that Deer Don’t Eat by RR Clausen – 2011 – books.google.com
Insect herbivory as a major factor in the shade distribution of a native crucifer (Cardamine cordifolia A. Gray, bittercress) by SM Louda, JE Rodman – Journal of Ecology, 1996 – JSTOR
Got Shade?: A” take it Easy” Approach for Today’s Gardener by C Harstad – 2003 – books.google.com
Glorious Shade: Dazzling Plants, Design Ideas, and Proven Techniques for Your Shady Garden by K Chapman – 2019 – Timber Press
Republic of shade: New England and the American elm by JR Carey – 2017 – books.google.com