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Do Deer Eat Crepe Myrtle? Understanding Deer Resistance

I’ve always been curious about whether deer eat crepe myrtle. It turns out that these trees are considered deer resistant due to the smooth mottled bark acting as a natural defense mechanism. Read on to learn more about deer resistance and what plants are safe from their grazing habits.

Deer typically do not eat crepe myrtle, as these trees are considered to be deer resistant. Even when food is scarce, deer will choose to eat other plants rather than feed on crepe myrtle.

This is due to the tree’s smooth mottled bark, which acts as a natural defense mechanism against grazing animals. While deer may occasionally nibble on the leaves or young shoots of a crepe myrtle, these instances are rare and do not usually cause significant damage to the tree.

Do Deer Eat Crepe Myrtle?

Crepe myrtles are a popular landscaping choice due to their stunning, colorful blooms and relatively low maintenance requirements. However, like all plants, they are susceptible to damage from grazing animals such as deer.

So, the question on many gardeners’ minds is, do deer eat crepe myrtle? While deer may occasionally nibble on the leaves or young shoots of a crepe myrtle, these instances are rare and do not usually cause significant damage to the tree.

Characteristics of Crape Myrtles

There are several reasons why crepe myrtles are not a common food source for deer. For one, crepe myrtles have smooth mottled bark which acts as a natural defense mechanism against grazing animals.

Additionally, these trees have papery-textured flowers that are not very palatable to deer. Furthermore, as crepe myrtles bloom in late summer, when other food sources for deer are more abundant, the trees are not as attractive to grazing animals.

Smooth Bark

The smooth, mottled bark of crepe myrtles provides a defense against grazing animals, as it makes it more difficult for them to grip onto the trunk and branches. This helps to protect the young shoots and leaves of the tree from being nibbled upon by deer, as the animals find it challenging to climb and navigate the smooth bark.

Paper-Textured Flowers

Crepe myrtles have delicate, papery-textured flowers that are not very appetizing to deer. While it is possible that deer may nibble on these flowers, they typically prefer to feed on other, more palatable plants in the area.

Dry Flowers

Crepe myrtle flowers tend to dry up and wither away quickly, which makes them less attractive to grazing deer. As the flowers produce little to no moisture, they are not a good source of hydration for the animals, and they usually look for other watering holes.

Strong Scent

While deer’s sense of smell is sharp, crepe myrtle’s scent is not one that attract the animals. The tree’s scent isn’t potent enough to make it stand out in fields with more fragrant plants and flowers more suited for deer.


Another reason why deer tend to avoid crepe myrtle is due to its toxicity. The plant is mildly toxic and can make deer ill if consumed in large quantities, which is why deer tend to avoid it as a food source.

Are Dwarf Crape Myrtles Deer Resistant?

There are over 50 varieties of crepe myrtles, and most are deer-resistant. This includes dwarf crepe myrtle. Even though it is a smaller variety, it shares the same protection against deer as larger crepe myrtle trees, such as smooth mottled bark and dry flowers that are less appetizing to grazing animals.

How to Protect Crape Myrtle from Deer

Although deer do not typically eat crepe myrtles, it is still important to take steps to protect your trees, especially if you live in an area with a high population of deer. Here are the best ways to protect your trees from deer.

Liquid Fence

Keeping deer away from your beloved crepe myrtle may require a trip to your local hardware store. One option is to purchase a liquid deer repellent. These solutions are sprayed onto plants, creating an unpleasant taste and odor that deer will avoid.

Similarly, scent-based deterrents work by mimicking predator urine or other natural scents to scare deer away. If you are dealing with a particularly persistent deer population, fencing may be the best option for you.


Another way to protect young crepe myrtle plants from deer is by pruning. Removing the lower branches makes it more difficult for deer to reach the leaves and shoots that are most vulnerable to grazing.

This technique also helps the plant to grow taller, where it will be less likely to be eaten by deer. Keep in mind that while pruning can be helpful, it should not be relied upon as your only method of protecting your plants.


Physical barriers such as fencing can be highly effective in keeping deer away from your crepe myrtle plants. While a sturdy fence might be expensive, it usually provides excellent protection against deer and other animals that might be interested in munching on your plants. If you do not want to invest in a full fence, you can opt for wire or plastic mesh. These materials can be secured around the base of your plants to create a simple, inexpensive barrier.

Coffee grounds

While coffee may be your morning ritual, your crepe myrtle may reap the benefits, too. Coffee grounds are believed to be an effective deterrent for deer because of their strong scent. To use coffee grounds as a natural repellent, sprinkle them around the base of your plants. Be aware, however, that you will need to refresh the coffee grounds often to maintain their effectiveness.

Ultrasonic devices

Ultrasonic repellents are excellent ways to keep deer out of your garden. Here’s the best one for you. It’s solar-powered and motion activated.

Types of Deer-Resistant Flowering Trees

In addition to protecting your crepe myrtle, you can consider adding other deer-resistant trees to your landscape. Here are a few options to consider:

Fringe Tree

This native Eastern US tree offers delicate white flowers in the spring that give off a fragrant aroma. It can grow up to 25 feet tall, and its leaves turn yellow in the fall. Fringe trees are tolerant of shade and drought and are known to be deer-resistant.

White Fringe Tree

Similar to the Fringe Tree, the White Fringe Tree offers fragrant white flowers and is native to Eastern US. It can grow up to 20 feet tall and is deer-resistant, making it a popular ornamental tree.

Saucer Magnolia

This deciduous tree boasts gorgeous pink and white flowers that bloom in early spring. Saucer Magnolias are adaptable to a variety of soil types and sunlight requirements, but they thrive in well-drained soils. They can grow up to 30 feet tall and are known to be highly resistant to deer browsing.


If you are looking for an edible option, consider the Serviceberry tree. This tree produces berries that are enjoyed by both birds and humans. Serviceberry trees can grow up to 20 feet tall and are tolerant of a wide range of conditions, making them versatile additions to any landscape. They are known for their high resistance to deer browsing.Adding these deer-resistant trees to your landscape can provide extra protection for your crepe myrtle and can also add some variety to your yard. Remember to take into account the specific growing conditions of your location when choosing trees.

Flowering Quince

If you are looking for a deer-resistant tree that adds a pop of color to your garden, look no further than the flowering quince. With its stunning orange or red blooms in early spring, this tree adds a burst of excitement to any landscaping design.

This dwarf tree rarely grows beyond six feet, making it an excellent choice for smaller yards or garden spaces.In addition to its beautiful flowers, the flowering quince is also known for its deer-resistant qualities. Its mottled bark dissuades deer from nibbling on the tree, allowing it to grow and thrive.


Consider planting hawthorn trees to keep deer away from your garden. Hawthorns come in multiple species and can be chosen based on your landscaping preferences. With their tough and adaptable nature, hawthorn trees can tolerate both wet and dry growing conditions and can even produce crabapple-like fruits. Similar to flowering quince, hawthorn trees are also deer-resistant, saving you from additional deer management in your garden while keeping the tree healthy and thriving.

Chinese Dogwood

The Chinese dogwood tree is an excellent choice if you want a one-of-a-kind flowering tree that will enhance the appearance of your garden. Delicate pink or white bracts replace conventional flowers, making this tree an inspired addition to your outdoor space.

The green oval leaves and smooth bark create a scale-like appearance, adding texture to any landscaping.But not only is the Chinese dogwood an attractive addition to your garden, it is also deer resistant. Deer often avoid feeding on the leaves and bark of this tree, allowing it to grow and thrive in your garden without much need for additional deer management.

Arrowwood Viburnum

If you’re tired of deer munching on your garden, try planting a deer-resistant tree. One option is the serviceberry tree, which produces tasty berries for humans but doesn’t appeal to deer. Similarly, the hawthorn tree’s thorns and bitter-tasting berries make it unappetizing for deer. The fragrant lilac tree, also called the arrowwood viburnum, is another beautiful choice that is often avoided by deer. Its vibrant blooms and alluring scent can even attract butterflies to your garden. Investing in deer-resistant trees can help reduce the need for constant deer management and protect your garden’s beauty.

Will Crape Myrtle Trees Come Back After Deer Eat Them?

If you have crape myrtle trees in your garden, you may be wondering if they can recover from deer damage. Fortunately, crape myrtle trees have woody stems that can often withstand a deer’s munching.

While a severe snack session may stunt the growth of the tree, it is unlikely to kill it off entirely.That being said, the amount of damage sustained by the crape myrtle tree can determine its ability to recover after being eaten by deer. If extensive damage occurs, it may prove too much for the tree to come back from, even with proper pruning and deer management strategies.


What attractive plants are deer-resistant?

When designing garden areas and landscapes that inhabit deer, it is important to know that certain flowers deter deer from eating them due to their strong scent. Opt for blossoms such as alliums, astilbes, and columbines. These flowers are aesthetically pleasing and are not attractive to deer due to their natural fragrance. Adding these varieties of blooming plants to your outdoor living area can eliminate the frustrating problem of deer foraging on your hard work.

Are crepe myrtle leaves safe for rabbits to eat?

It is important to consider the safety of plants for animals when designing gardens. Some plants, like crape myrtle, may not be harmful to animals, but it is always best to research a plant’s safety before allowing animals to consume it. Rabbits may be curious and nibble on different leaves, but it is important to monitor their consumption and provide a safe environment for them.


So, there you have it folks, the answer to the age-old question: do deer eat crepe myrtle? The answer, thankfully, is a resounding no. These beautiful trees are a safe bet for your garden, providing luscious blooms and elegant structure without the risk of becoming a deer’s next meal.

It’s always nice to know that we can coexist peacefully with our wildlife neighbors, and understanding deer resistance is an important part of maintaining a healthy ecosystem. So go ahead, plant those crepe myrtles with confidence, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your garden is deer-proof.

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