Native Plants are Deer Deterrents: "Keep Wildlife in the Wild"

"Deer are looking for the highest quality food and our yards often offer the best smorgasbord," said Dana Sanchez, a wildlife specialist for Oregon State University Extension Service. "When taking loving care of our plants – watering well and and fertilizing – we're producing a really superior plant compared to what's in the natural environment. They are more tender and have more nutrition and water content."

In the wild, deer and native plants evolved together, so plants developed defenses like waxy leaves or prickles that make them more adapted to surviving grazing. Even when they do get nibbled, natives are more likely to survive than the succulent plants in our gardens.

"We're often selecting plants from other parts of the world that didn't get to learn through evolution about the herbivores in our ecosystem," Sanchez said. "They're 'naïve.' Even roses that have prickles don't have them around the beautiful blossoms, which the deer just snap off. They easily take what they want." Read more...