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Do Deer Eat Viburnum? (and How To PROTECT Your Garden)

As a nature lover and avid deer enthusiast, I often get asked the same question: do deer eat viburnum? In this blog post, I’ll explore tips for safely planting viburnum in areas prone to deer browsing, provide alternative options for those looking to add some greenery to their landscape, and explain how to keep deer out of your garden.

Deer may eat viburnum, but it depends on the specific species of viburnum and the region where it is grown. Some species of viburnum, such as American cranberry bush and arrowwood, are less attractive to deer due to their bitter taste and tough textures.

However, other species, such as nannyberry and maple leaf viburnum, may be more appealing to deer. Additionally, deer populations and feeding habits vary by region, making it difficult to give a definitive answer on whether or not deer will eat viburnum. Proper fencing or deer repellent may help protect viburnum from deer browsing.

Do Deer Eat Viburnum?

The answer is not a straightforward yes or no. The likelihood of deer eating viburnum depends on the specific species of viburnum and the region where it is grown. While some species, such as American cranberrybush and arrowwood, have a bitter taste and tough texture that are less attractive to deer, other species, such as nannyberry and mapleleaf viburnum, may be more appealing to them.

An alternative option is to use deer repellent. Be sure to reapply as directed, especially after rain or watering. Deer repellent can also be applied directly to each plant, but it can be time-consuming and expensive to apply over a large area.

Additionally, deer populations and feeding habits vary by region, making it difficult to give a definitive answer on whether or not deer will eat viburnum. To protect your viburnum plants from deer browsing, you can employ various strategies. Proper fencing can be effective, but it can also be unsightly and expensive.

What is Viburnum and Its Deer-Resistance?

The viburnum genus boasts a diverse array of robust and stunning shrubs that are highly sought after for their charming blooms. Vibrant shades of white, pink, and red adorn these delightful shrubs, and they often produce strikingly colored berries. While these beautiful plants make for excellent additions to any garden, those residing in areas frequented by deer may find them less appealing, as these furry creatures have a voracious appetite for viburnum.

Understanding Deer-Resistant Plants

Deer are creatures of habit and typically stick to the same grazing paths. They prefer young, tender shoots and leaves, so plants with tough leaves or thorns are typically less attractive to them. While no plant can be completely deer-resistant, some are less appealing than others. Understanding which plants they tend to avoid can help you choose the best options for your landscaping.

Viburnum Plant Characteristics and Risks of Deer Damage

Viburnum plants have soft, tender leaves that make them a prime target for deer browsing. Additionally, their range of colors and beautiful blooms can make them attractive to deer. Risks of deer damage to viburnum plants include:

  • Stunted growth
  • Lowered resistance to disease and pests
  • Delayed or no blooming
  • Dieback from heavy browsing

Tips for Keeping Deer Away From Viburnum

If you want to deal with the damage caused by deer on viburnum without harming other animals or the environment, it’s important to seek advice from an expert. You can try a few things to prevent deer from accessing the affected area, like putting up fences or planting unappealing plants. You can also try non-lethal methods like noise or scent-based repellants. These approaches will help you deal with the deer damage and make sure other wildlife is safe.

  • Wrap the plants with a protective mesh or netting
  • Apply deer repellent as directed
  • Alternate repellent types each season to avoid habituation
  • Use hedges or other tough-leaved shrubs as a barrier between the viburnum and deer

Deer Resistant Plants to Use as Alternatives to Viburnum

In regions where deer are abundant, it could be wise to explore different choices for your garden plants. Consider selecting plants that are deer-resistant, such as:

  • Boxwood
  • Barberry
  • Fountain grass
  • Buddleia
  • Lavender
  • Lavender

Other Tactics to Repel Deer

In addition to the tips listed above, there are other tactics you can use to repel deer:

  • Install motion-activated sprinklers
  • Use noise or light deterrents
  • Hang bars of soap in nylon stockings from tree branches
  • Use predator urines or sprays

How Deer Damage Yards

  • Browsing on leaves and shoots
  • Trampling on and compacting soil
  • Marking territory with their antlers or hooves
  • Eating fruits and vegetables

Before taking action against deer causing damage, it’s essential to recognize the significant role they play in maintaining the natural balance of the ecosystem. It would be prudent to seek professional guidance for sustainable deer management, which can alleviate the environmental impact and still address the damage caused.

When to Call a Professional

When dealing with deer damage to your plants, it’s wise to consult a professional for guidance on the best approach to take. This ensures that you don’t unintentionally harm wildlife or the environment in your efforts to safeguard your landscaping. Seeking expert assistance will enable you to protect your investment while conserving the natural world.


So, do deer eat viburnum? The answer is: it depends! As with any plant, some species of viburnum are more appealing to deer than others. Factors such as taste and texture, as well as regional variations in deer populations and feeding habits, can all impact whether your viburnum will be safe from browsing deer.

But fear not, there are ways to protect your viburnum if you live in a deer prone area. Proper fencing can be effective in keeping deer away from your plants, while deer repellent can discourage them from feasting on your viburnum. And if all else fails, there are alternative landscaping options that can give you the look and feel you desire without the risk of deer damage. Whether you choose to plant viburnum or another species, with a little planning and care, you can have a beautiful and thriving garden in a deer susceptible area.

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