Deer Repellent – Keep Deer From Eating Your Shrubs

Are deer trampling your gardens and eating all your shrubs? Chances are it’s because your landscape is full of shrubs that are deer favorites. We like to call these types of shrubs deer candy because deer go crazy for these plants.

Deer are usually lazy, they will feed on shrubs that are the easiest to reach. However; if they spot Deer candy, they will go through a lot of effort to get to those plants and devour them. When it comes to deer candy, deer won’t stop eating your shrub until most of the plant is destroyed.


In this area Euonymus (also called spindle, burning-bush, strawberry-bush, wahoo, or wintercreeper) is #1 on the list of plants that are like candy to deer. Euonymus is the name of a wide genus of flowering plants in the staff vine family and is commonly planted in suburban gardens. Our arborists estimate that in our area, 1 out of every 3 homes has some type of Euonymus in their yards.

Deer Repellent 1

Euonymus fortunei

Deer Repellent 2

Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’

Deer Repellent 3

Euonymus fortunei ‘minimus’

Although not as tasty, deer also love to go after Hosta (Host sp.), Candy Lily (Pardancanda x norrisii), Roses, Yews (Taxus sp.) American Arborviate (Thuja occidentalis), Evergreen Azaleas & Rhododendron (Rhododendron sp)

Deer RepellentWhat Can I Do To Keep Deer From Eating My Shrubs?

The trick to keeping deer from eating your shrubs is to make these usually tasty feasts taste terrible. We do this through treating the shrub’s foliage with a special product that makes your shrubs taste bad. The next time the deer wander onto your property for a snack, they will go in for a taste but quickly find out that what looks like their favorite meal tastes horrible. Discouraged they will move on to the next tasty plant in the vicinity (usually your neighbor’s plants unless they get deer protection as well.)

This treatment is safe and not harmful to your plants/shrubs. However, it is not advised for Blue spruces otherwise their blue tint will be removed.


Deer Eating Your Shrubs?

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Plants Rarely Damaged By Deer

If hungry enough, deer will eat anything. However; if you have one of the following plants you can rest a little easier this year. These plants are disliked by deer and typically aren’t necessary to treat with deer repellent.

We suggest planting these plants in the future if your landscape has been destroyed by deer feeding.


  • Eastern Redbud
  • Eastern Redcedar
  • Green Hawthorn
  • Bald Cypress
  • American Holly


  • Virginia Iris
  • Ferns
  • Lavender
  • Marigold


  • Forsythia
  • Lilac
  • Cypress, Goldthread
  • Dogwood, Redtwig
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Boxwood Varieties

Your plant not mentioned in this article? Look up your tree/shrub species to see if it’s deer resistance, a deer favorite, or somewhere in between!

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Samantha Huff

Samantha Huff is the marketing coordinator at RTEC Treecare. She enjoys learning about the technical aspects of trees and the insects and diseases that prey on them. She hopes that these articles can help homeowners gain control of their tree and shrub maintenance by being aware of the signs and symptoms of unhealthy trees.

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