Deer damage to ornamental plants out in the landscape are becoming all too frequent in the region. Where most homeowners rarely saw deer in their landscape in the past decade, the sightings are increasing to the extent that deer have become regular visitors and are causing great concern.
Basically, the increase in deer and resulting landscape damage is attributed to the rising deer population, human population shifting to the the rural and suburban home sites, loss of deer habits to development, and landowner decisions to prevent deer hunting.
Reducing the deer population is the definitive way to reduce deer damage. But in reality, an integrated pest management plan that includes these very important aspects is vital: deer population management, fencing, repellents and vegetative management (better described as planting what deer don't like to eat).
In all likelyhood, deer damage to landscapes in the rural and suburban areas isn't likely to go away any time soon. However, planting ornamentals not favored by deer is the first step especially if your landscape is due for a makeover.
The worst situation in increased deer damage occurs basically two times a year. The first is during the dead of winter when there isn't a speck of mast to eat in the woods. The other is in the spring when your landscape plants start to produce succulent new growth caused by fertilizer and other nutrients.