How to reduce damage from browsing deer

How to reduce damage from browsing deer

As winter sets in on North Dakota and the snow piles on, deer browsing can become a major problem in your landscape. If you don’t want your landscape turned into the local buffet for browsing deer, here are a few options to consider.


Although there are mixed thoughts on the effectiveness of repellents, in a low to moderate deer pressure situation they can be enough to discourage browsing. Contact repellents have proven to discourage browsing more effectively compared to area repellents that are just placed near the food source. When choosing to apply a contact repellent, it is best to apply from the ground to 6 feet up the tree. Application should also be done on days that are calm and above freezing. All repellents should be refreshed every 3 weeks or after any rain or snow melt that may cause the repellent to be washed away.


Just like protecting your garden in the summer, fences are the most effective way to protect your landscape in the winter. For protecting individual trees in your landscape, a simple plastic mesh fence will work just fine. Make sure to space landscape fencing one foot away from the closet branch and all the way around to keep deer from reaching through. It is best to keep all material wrapping an evergreen off of the needles whether using a burlap or plastic fence. New growth in the spring can be damaged by rubbing against the fencing material. If you are looking to fence in your entire yard, a permanent fence, a 6-8 foot fence is required depending on the material used.

Deer Resistant Plants

Don’t want to hike though snow every 3 weeks to spray down your landscape? Putting up a fence will block your view of the surrounding landscape? Consider removing old plants and refreshing with more deer resistant trees. Although no plant is truly deer resistant, some tend to be browsed fairly rarely compared to other species. A good rule of thumb is the thicker the leaf and the stronger the scent, the less likely deer are to nibble on that particular plant. Examples of this would be Russian sage, yarrow, coneflowers, barberry, mugo pines and much more. /cto learn more about good options for deer resistant plants in North Dakota.