Do Deer Eat Wisteria Trees? (and 5 Ways To Keep Deer At Bay)

I have always been fascinated by deer and their diet. When the topic of wisteria popped up, I couldn’t help but wonder – do deer eat wisteria trees? With conflicting reports, I decided to dive deeper into the topic to discover the truth.

Deer are known to be herbivores and their diet mainly consists of plants, shrubs, and trees. However, there is some debate about whether deer eat wisteria. While some reports suggest that deer do consume wisteria, others indicate that it is not a preferred food source. It is important to note that deer may eat wisteria when other food sources are scarce. To protect your wisteria from these animals, some strategies include fencing, using deer repellents, or planting other deer-resistant plants nearby.

Do Deer Eat Wisteria?

If you have a wisteria plant in your garden, you may be wondering whether deer eat wisteria. The answer is somewhat complicated. While deer are known to consume a wide range of plants, shrubs, and trees, wisteria may not be one of their preferred food sources. However, if other food sources are scarce, deer may consume wisteria.

The Beauty and Toxicity of Wisteria Flowers

Wisteria plants are not only beautiful but also toxic. This plant species has heavy toxins called lectin and Wisteria inside, which can be harmful to humans, pets, and wildlife. The toxicity of these plants means that deer will likely avoid eating them whenever possible.

Uses, Significance, and Benefits of Wisteria

Wisteria is often grown for its beautiful flowers and sweet fragrance. These plants are also known to attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Additionally, some species of wisteria are grown for their medicinal properties, which include treating digestive disorders, inflammation, and pain.

Toxicity of Wisteria

It is essential to note that the toxicity of wisteria can cause adverse effects on humans and animals if ingested. Its toxins can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and other health problems. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that these plants are kept away from pets and wildlife that may try to eat them.

Protecting Your Wisteria from Deer

Deer can cause significant damage to your wisteria plants, especially in the winter when other food sources are scarce. To protect your wisteria, you can try various techniques, including physical barriers, repellent sprays, and alternative deer-resistant plants.

Here are the best methods to keep deer at bay:

1. Deer-Resistant Plants

One effective method to protect a tree from deer is to surround it with plants that are less appealing to these animals. Certain plants, such as lavender, yarrow, and boxwood, are known to have strong scents or unappetizing tastes for deer. By creating a barrier of deer-resistant plants around the targeted tree, you can deter deer from approaching and potentially damaging it.

2. Fencing

Installing a physical barrier such as a sturdy fence around the tree is another common approach to protect it from deer. Height is a critical factor when considering fencing as deer are known to be excellent jumpers, capable of clearing obstacles up to 8 feet tall. Choose a material like wire mesh or deer netting that is at least 6 feet tall and properly secure it around the tree to prevent access by deer. This method provides a reliable, long-term solution to safeguard your tree.

3. Repellents

Using deer repellents is another way to protect a tree from these animals. Many commercial repellents are available in the market, often based on natural ingredients or predator scents. These repellents create an unpleasant experience for deer, deterring them from approaching the treated tree. Apply the repellent according to the manufacturer’s instructions, usually by spraying or applying it onto the tree foliage, and reapply after rainfall to maintain its effectiveness.

Mint repellent

Mint repellents are among the most popular ones. To keep pesky deer from feasting on your beautiful wisteria plants, try using peppermint. The strong smell of peppermint makes deer uneasy and they also dislike the wisteria blooms. Simply mix peppermint with water to make a spray and apply it around the garden. This will help deter the deer and save your cherished wisteria plants.

Blood Meal Fertilizer

Blood meal fertilizer is another effective way to keep deer away from your wisteria plants. Sprinkling blood meal around your garden creates an unpleasant scent that deer will not like, keeping them away. Note that blood meal is a temporary solution that will need to be reapplied regularly.

4. Tree Guards

Employing tree guards is an effective method to physically protect young or vulnerable trees from deer. These guards are typically made of plastic or wire and are wrapped around the base of the tree trunk. They act as physical barriers, preventing deer from rubbing their antlers or nibbling on the bark. Tree guards should be sturdy and tall enough to cover the trunk to a height of at least 4-5 feet, providing ample protection for the tree.

5. Scare Tactics

Utilizing scare tactics can be an additional method to deter deer from approaching and potentially damaging a tree. Examples of scare tactics include motion-activated sensors that trigger loud noises or flashing lights, reflective tape, or even scarecrows. These tactics startle the deer and create an unpredictable environment, making them less likely to approach the tree in question. However, it’s important to frequently change the scare tactics used, as deer may become accustomed to and ignore consistent stimuli after a certain period of time.

Common Alternatives to Wisteria that are Deer-resistant

If you want to plant something that is deer-resistant, there are plenty of options available. Some popular choices include lavender, sage, and rosemary. These plants have a fragrance that can help to deter deer from coming close to your garden.


So, do deer eat wisteria? It’s a question that still doesn’t have a clear answer. While some may argue that wisteria is not a preferred food source for deer, it doesn’t mean these animals won’t munch on your beloved plants when they’re feeling peckish. And why blame them? After all, who doesn’t love a good snack, especially when it’s as fresh and green as wisteria leaves.

However, if you’re a proud wisteria owner and don’t want your plants to become a deer’s buffet, fret not. You can always implement some clever tricks to keep these animals at bay. From fencing to deer repellents and nearby deer-resistant plants, there are plenty of ways to keep your wisteria safe and thriving. And who knows, you might even get to enjoy the joy of your blooming wisteria without any unwanted guests munching on it during snack time.

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