Do Deer Eat Burning Bush? (Tips and Ways To PROTECT Your Garden)

As a passionate nature lover with a deep interest in deer, I often find myself pondering the question: do deer eat burning bush? In this ultimate guide, we’ll dive into the facts and explore whether or not this common plant is on the menu for our beloved forest creatures.

Deer may consume burning bush when other food sources are scarce, particularly during harsh winter seasons. However, they generally avoid this plant when other options are available. Burning bush contains toxins that can be harmful to deer and other animals if consumed in large quantities. Therefore, it is recommended to plant alternative food sources for deer in areas where burning bush is a prominent plant.

Do Deer Eat Burning Bush?

It is a rare occasion to find deer munching on burning bush, which are exotic plants imported from Asia and commonly used for aesthetic landscaping in North America. As a matter of course, deer are inclined to abstain from devouring burning bush when other types of vegetation are easily accessible. Nevertheless, in trying seasons of winter where food is scarce, the deer may resort to nibbling on them for survival.

Burning bush contains toxins that can be harmful to deer and other animals, so they would rather avoid it if possible. If you are concerned about deer grazing on your burning bush, there are ways to deter them. You can try using deer repellents or placing physical barriers around the plants. There are also plenty of alternative food sources you can plant to distract the deer from your burning bush.

What is Burning Bush?

If you’re new to gardening or just unfamiliar with different plant species, you may be wondering what exactly a Burning Bush is. Well, let me tell you, it’s not just any ordinary shrub. With its vibrant red foliage in the fall, it’s hard to miss. Its scientific name is Euonymus alatus, but it’s commonly referred to as a Burning Bush due to its intense color and ability to light up a garden. But, the question remains, do deer find it as irresistible as we do? Let’s find out in The Ultimate Guide on Do Deer Eat Burning Bush.

Plant Description and Landscaping Benefits

  • Burning bush is a deciduous shrub.
  • It reaches a maximum height of 15 feet.
  • Its leaves are green during spring and summer months.
  • The leaves transform into a vibrant red color during autumn.
  • Burning bush is slow-growing, making it an excellent option for small gardens.

Burning Bush’s Growth and Maintenance

Growing and maintaining burning bush is relatively straightforward. However, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your plant thrives.

Soil Preparation

Burning bush prefers well-draining soil that is slightly alkaline. Soil that is too acidic can stunt its growth. Before planting, make sure to amend your soil accordingly. Mixing in compost or manure can improve soil quality and provide nutrients for your burning bush.

Sun Care

Burning bush prefers full sun but can also tolerate some shade. Placing the plant in an area that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight per day will help it thrive.

Pruning and Watering Requirements

Burning bush’s pruning requirements are relatively minimal. Removing dead or diseased branches is necessary, but beyond that, it is optional. Watering should be done sparingly, as burning bush prefers soil that is slightly dry.

Deer and Burning Bush

Are Deer Attracted to Burning Bush?

As mentioned earlier, deer are generally not attracted to burning bush. These plants contain toxins that can be harmful to deer if consumed in large quantities. As a result, deer will usually avoid them. However, during harsh winter seasons when food is scarce, deer might nibble on burning bush out of desperation. If you live in an area with a high deer population, you might want to consider planting alternative food sources to draw their attention away from your burning bush.

How to Deter Deer From Eating Burning Bush

Although deer generally avoid burning bush, they may still consume it when other food sources are scarce. To prevent deer from eating your burning bush, you can adopt several effective strategies.One option is to plant deer-resistant plants around your burning bush, which will discourage deer from approaching the area. These plants include lavender, daffodils, foxglove, and snowdrop.

Additionally, placing mesh or netting around your burning bush can deter deer from accessing it, making it less attractive to them.Another effective method of keeping deer at bay is to use deer repellents. These repellents come in various forms, including sprays and granules, and they can be applied directly to the burning bush or sprayed on nearby areas. Natural repellents, such as garlic, soap, or predator urine, are also available and can be effective in deterring deer.

Recommendations for Planting and Caring For Burning Bush

To ensure your burning bush thrives, make sure to plant it in an area where it has ample room to grow without requiring excessive pruning. If you live in an area where deer pose a threat, surround your garden with deer-resistant plants like marigolds, catmint, or butterfly weed to deter them from your prized burning bush.

Choosing the Right Location

When it comes to planting burning bush, it’s all about location, location, location! Although hardy and adaptable to many soil types, this plant thrives in well-draining soil and full to partial sun.

It’s important to choose a spot that gets plenty of sunlight throughout the day to keep your burning bush healthy and vibrant. Make sure to also give the plant enough space to grow without crowding, as it can mature to around six feet tall and wide.

  • Choose a well-draining soil type
  • Plant in full to partial sun
  • Provide enough space for the plant to grow

Soil and light exposure

Soil Preparation: burning bush prefers well-drained soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5. Before planting, amend the soil with compost or aged manure to improve its texture and fertility.

To take care of your burning bush, make sure the soil is moist but not waterlogged. Give it at least six hours of sunlight daily and prune nearby shade-casting trees or bushes.


Prune your burning bush during the late winter or early spring while it’s still dormant. Additionally, water your burning bush regularly, particularly during periods of drought or extreme heat to prevent dehydration.

Creating a Deer-Resistant Garden

If you’re tired of deer nibbling on your prized flowers and shrubs, it’s time to design a deer-resistant garden. You can start by choosing plants that deer tend to avoid like lavender, daffodils, and yarrow. Planting companions like garlic, leeks, and chives can also help keep deer away. Meanwhile, plants like burning bush, roses, and hostas are irresistible to deer, so it’s best to avoid them altogether. Fencing and sonic or scent deterrents can also provide additional protection for your garden.

  • Choose deer-resistant plants like lavender, daffodils, and yarrow.
  • Plant garlic, leeks, and chives as companions to deter deer.
  • Avoid planting deer favorites like burning bush, roses, and hostas.
  • Consider installing fencing or using sensory deterrents to protect your garden.

How Do I Keep Deer OUT Of Your Yard

Are those deer munching on your beautiful garden? Don’t fret, I’ve compiled an exhaustive list of solutions to help safeguard your plants, flowers, and trees.

1. Fencing

Deer are majestic creatures, but you don’t want them in your garden! Construct a fence that’s at least 8 feet high, made from heavy-duty material such as metal or plastic. You can also add a slanted top or double fence to deter them from jumping over. Remember to bury the fence at least 8-12 inches into the ground to prevent them from digging under it.

2. Use Deer-Resistant Plants

If you can’t beat them, plant things they don’t like. Deer tend to avoid plants with strong scents or prickly textures, so opt for fuzzy lamb’s ear, spiky yucca, fragrant lavender, and Russian sage. But keep in mind that no plant is completely deer-proof, so plant a mix of vegetables, herbs, and flowers to minimize their interest.

3. Motion-Activated Sprinklers or Lights

Motion-activated sprinklers or lights can startle deer and make them run for the hills! It’ll teach them to stay away from your garden. Sprinklers release a burst of water when it senses movement, while lights can make it harder for them to navigate around your garden.

4. Deer Repellent Sprays

Deer repellent sprays are an excellent option for the chemically-averse gardener. They use a combination of ingredients, including garlic, hot pepper, and eggs, to create an unpleasant taste and scent that will keep the deer away. But remember to reapply after rainfall to ensure it remains effective.

5. Hang Reflective Objects

Want to add some pizzazz to your garden while keeping deer out? Hang shiny objects such as CDs or aluminum foil strips. The reflection of light off these shiny items can confuse deer and keep them from coming towards your garden.

6. Physical Barriers

Protect individual plants or small garden areas by creating physical barriers, such as cages made from chicken wire or heavy plastic netting. Row covers are also effective in protecting sprouts and young plants from being eaten by deer.

7. Sound Deterrents

Deer have a keen sense of hearing, and certain sounds can frighten them away. Wind chimes or ultrasonic devices emit sounds that can deter deer from coming near your garden.

8. Smell Deterrents

Deer’s sensitive noses can be put to use! Human hair, soap, and rotten eggs are examples of strong scents that deer dislike. Spread these around the garden to discourage deer from coming close.

9. Natural Barriers

You can use nature to your advantage by planting holly or barberry bushes around the perimeter of your garden. Deer will avoid these prickly and thorny bushes. Alternatively, use a natural deer repellent such as bone meal or blood meal, which emit strong smells that deer dislike.

10. Clean Up Debris and Fallen Fruit

Old leaves, fruit, and debris attract deer, so clean up your garden regularly. By doing so, you’ll eliminate any potential food sources that might draw deer to your garden.

11. Rotate Your Methods

Deer are smart creatures, and they figure out how to outsmart your preventative measures. Rotate your tactics to keep them guessing. For example, start with building a fence, use sound deterrents or deer-resistant plants, then switch to natural barriers or deer repellent sprays. Keep mixing them up to keep them off-guard.


Now that you know the answer to the question “Do deer eat burning bush?” you can make informed decisions about the plant life in your area. While it is possible for deer to consume burning bush during times of food scarcity, it is not a preferred option because of the toxins it contains. As responsible caretakers of the environment, we should aim to provide alternative food sources for deer and other wildlife to encourage a healthy ecosystem.

Learning about the dietary habits of animals is just one step in creating a harmonious coexistence with nature. By taking the time to research and understand the needs of our furry friends, we can make a positive impact on their lives and, in turn, the health of our planet. So let’s continue to explore the wonders of the natural world and work towards a brighter future for all.

You may also be interested in reading: