It's pretty frustrating when your prized shrub becomes deer dinner overnight. As people move further out from the city, they bring their favorite types of plants with them. Deer have learned to live in close proximity to people by munching on their shrubs, flowers, and vegetables. Since deer prefer foliage that is bland, they tend to stay away from fragrant plants if given a choice. Here are 3 handsome shrubs that don't rate high on deer palates.
Myrica pensylvanica (also shown above) is an extremely hardy native plant. For today's smaller landscape, try a compact selection of Northern Bayberry called Bobbee™ as an improved form of the species. It reaches a height of approximately 6' while 6-8' in width at maturity with wavy, dark green foliage. Another keen aspect of this plant is that it not only takes moist or dry sites but also acidic soils. Best of all, like all bayberries, it has wonderful, pewter gray aromatic fruit from late summer through early spring. Around the holidays, cut fresh branches and bring them into the home as a natural scented decoration.
Kolkwitzia amabilis is a lovely, "old-fashioned" shrub. It has been around a long time, maybe isn't used as much as it once was, but still has desirable traits, especially when used properly in the landscape. It has an upright, vase shape with fountain-like, arching branches that are literally smothered in bell-shaped flowers in May and June. The "Pink Cloud" variety has strong pink, fragrant blooms. It will obtain a height of about 6-10' and 6-8' in spread. Beautybush is best used as a screen or by itself with enough room to develop its shape naturally. Older stems should be pruned out every year after flowering, or you can simply cut the plant to the ground to ensure maximum blooming potential. Although it will tolerate some shade, it should receive full sun for best flowers. A tough cookie, it will tolerate drought, is adaptable to a wide range pH, and is hardy to Zone 4.
Buxus sempervirens is a plant deer don't like to eat because its evergreen foliage is aromatic (but please note, not all fragrant plants are resistant to deer.). "Vardar Valley" is a popular low-growing, compact boxwood. Only reaching 2-3 feet in height and 4-5 feet in spread, this rounded, flat-topped selection is a perfect foundation plant which won't obscure your view if planted under windows. It's hardy to Zone 4 and will do well in full or part sun and moist soils, but they must be kept away from drying winds.