Deer-Proofing your Bay Area garden

Part of country life means sharing our gardens with deer. Instead of fighting the deer, embrace them.
mother_and_baby_deer2_r.jpg
Here's what we know

  1. Good fences make deer move to your neighbors! (And that’s not fair) A small fenced area gives you a chance to grow vegetables, fruit, or a few roses. Consider the location of your deer trail when selecting where to place your fenced garden. Deer need a way to get from one property to another and have long established routes. Leave a trail open to them.

  2. Deer populations vary in their tastes according to geographic area. Try using native plants which have proven successful for your neighbors.Chances are, the local deer have similar preferences/disdain for certain plants. See below for our list of “deer resistant” plants here at Yerba Buena Nursery.

  3. A hungry deer will eat anything. Early in the spring, nature provides more deer food. During birthing season, mothers get hungrier. Summer into Fall means less food and a need to get water by chewing on plants. Spray Deer Repellent on your favorite plants to discourage browsing.

  4. Young, tender plants taste better to deer than older, established plants. Even among “deer resistant” plants, nursery soil imparts special flavor which dissipates over time.Young plants which are “tasted” can’t sacrifice too many leaves. Protect these plants with a physical barrier and/or spray until established. Plants must be individually caged, using a solid metal stake that the deer cannot push down.

  5. Deer can only reach so high (sometimes on their hind legs that is pretty high). Vines like Vitis californica (Wild grape) or shrubs like Rhamnus californica (Coffeeberry) can be protected until they grow taller than deer can reach.

  6. Planting a deer resistant group of plants in front of non-deer resistant plants can sometimes dissuade deer. For instance, using Berberis aquifolium, Ribes speciosum or even large bunch grasses along the deer route and planting behind these with deer preferred plants sometimes discourages deer.

  7. If the deer browse your plants, don’t despair! Sometimes this unorthodox pruning method results in fuller, bushier plants in the long run.

  8. Why not just feed the deer? If all else fails, consider this perspective: Most people continually complain that deer eat everything. However, one kind customer took us aback when he asked us to recommend plants that the deer COULD eat. He had fenced a private garden. Outside the fence, he wanted to plant an area with food that the deer could enjoy.

Deer resistant native plants

We hesitate to publish a list of deer resistant plants for an obvious reason: Deer do not read lists! Having said this, we offer recommendations for deer resistant plants. Individual plant caging and deer repellant spray may be needed in combination with planting deer resistant plants.

Abies bracteata
Abies bracteata
Santa Lucia Fir

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Abies concolor
Abies concolor
White Fir

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Abies grandis
Abies grandis
Grand Fir

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Abies magnifica
Abies magnifica
Red Fir

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Acer circinatum
Acer circinatum
Vine Maple

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Acer glabrum
Acer glabrum
Rocky Mountain Maple

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Acer macrophyllum
Acer macrophyllum
Big Leaf Maple

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Acer negundo californicum var.
Acer negundo californicum var.
Box Elder

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Achillea millefolium
Achillea millefolium
Pink & White Yarrow

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Achillea millefolium
Achillea millefolium
Rosey Yarrow

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Achillea millefolium
Achillea millefolium
White Yarrow

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Achillea millefolium 'Calistoga'
Achillea millefolium 'Calistoga'
Grey-Leaved Yarrow

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Achillea millefolium 'King Range'
Achillea millefolium 'King Range'
White Yarrow

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Achillea millefolium 'Pink Island Form'
Achillea millefolium 'Pink Island Form'
Yarrow

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Achillea millefolium 'Sonoma Coast'
Achillea millefolium 'Sonoma Coast'
Sonoma White Yarrow

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Achlys triphylla
Achlys triphylla
Vanilla Leaf

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Achnaterum hymenoides
Achnaterum hymenoides
Indian Ricegrass

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Acnatherum occidentalis
Acnatherum occidentalis
California Needlegrass

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Actea rubra
Actea rubra
Baneberry

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Adenostoma fasciculatum
Adenostoma fasciculatum
Chamise

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Adenostoma fasciculatum
Adenostoma fasciculatum
Creeping Chamise

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Adenostoma fasciculatum 'Santa Cruz Island'
Adenostoma fasciculatum 'Santa Cruz Island'
Chamise

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Adenostoma sparsifolium
Adenostoma sparsifolium
Red Shanks

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Adiantum
Adiantum
Maidenhair

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Adiantum 'Brillant Elze'
Adiantum 'Brillant Elze'
Maidenhair Fern

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Adiantum aleuticum (syn. pedatum)
Adiantum aleuticum (syn. pedatum)
Five-Finger Fern

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Adiantum capillus-veneris
Adiantum capillus-veneris
Venus-Hair Fern

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Adiantum formosum
Adiantum formosum
Australian Maidenhair

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Adiantum hispidulum
Adiantum hispidulum
Rosy Maidenhair

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Adiantum jordanii
Adiantum jordanii
California Maidenhair

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Adiantum raddianum
Adiantum raddianum
Maidenhair Fern

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Adiantum raddianum 'Fritz Luth'
Adiantum raddianum 'Fritz Luth'
Maidenhair Fern

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Adiantum raddianum 'Gracillimum'
Adiantum raddianum 'Gracillimum'
Maidenhair Fern

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Adiantum raddianum 'Pacific Maid'
Adiantum raddianum 'Pacific Maid'
Maidenhair Fern

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Adiantum raddianum 'Pacotti'
Adiantum raddianum 'Pacotti'
Double Maidenhair

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Adiantum raddianum 'Tasselatum'
Adiantum raddianum 'Tasselatum'
Tasselled Maidenhair

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal

$2

4"

$4

5 gal

$5

15 gal

$15

24" box

$24

Adiantum raddianum 'Triumph'
Adiantum raddianum 'Triumph'
Maidenhair

Botanic Name

size

deerResistance

exposure

water

1 gal

$1

2 gal