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Try these plants to keep deer from dining in your landscape

By Sherry Walker
For The Salisbury Post
You spend a lot of time in the garden to get your landscape healthy and beautiful. You prepare your soil, plant, fertilize and water to get healthy plants, and something besides you admires your plants.
That something is often deer, and they think your plants were grown to be their dinner. After all, you work hard to make them healthy and tasty. One way to greatly reduce deer problems is to plant a deer -resistant garden.
There are several plants that deer just don’t like because of the taste. A common shrub that deer dislike is buddleia, also known as butterfly bush.
Hydrangeas, daphnes, azaleas and rhododendrons all flower and are deer-resistant.
Most azaleas and rhododendrons available commercially are evergreen, adding year round greenery in the garden.
Additional deer-resistant evergreen shrubs are boxwood and yew. Although these do not have showy flowers, the boxwood and yew have beautiful foliage year round.
If you want a perennial bed or want a few perennials in among your landscaping, there are also deer-resistant plants. Many happen to like full sun, such as iris, ajuga, phlox, artemisia, veronica or coreopsis.
While many people like the smell of lavender, deer do not and they leave it alone.
If you are looking for taller perennials, try oenthera, dicentra, commonly known as bleeding heart, rudbeckia or peonies. Pampas grass is also good, as are clematis and perovskia atiplicifolia, also known as Russian sage.
These plants offer a variety of bloom colors for your garden and you can plan your planting to bloom at different times of the season.
If you have a favorite plant that is not deer-resistant, you can still plant it, but you take the risk it may be nibbled or you must spray it to keep deer away.
A common spray available at most garden centers is Hinder, which can be used on ornamentals and food crops. This is the only chemical repellent that is registered for use on food crops.
If you elect to spray, follow the manufacturer’s directions for use and recognize you will need to spray all new foliage or flowers.
You will also need to spray after every rain, as the repellent is washed away with the rain.
If you have deer problems, try planting deer-resistant plant varieties and stop deer from dining in your landscape.
Sherry Walker is a Master Gardener student in the 2009 Master Gardener program.

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