A pretty common problem faced by many homesteaders and farmers is the deer grazing the fields and landscape plants such as the dogwood trees. No plant is entirely deer-proof and whichever landscape tree you plant, will be prone to at least a little deer damage. You can choose to plant some rarely damaged dogwood tree varieties to prevent any damage due to deer grazing.
If you are wondering whether dogwood is deer resistant or not, you have stumbled upon the right post. We will take a detailed look at the most and least deer-resistant dogwood varieties and how you can protect your plants from deer damage.
Are Dogwood Trees Deer Resistant?
Dogwood trees are significantly deer resistant and can sustain some deer damage. But it is rare for these plants to not go through any damage at all. They are not entirely deer resistant and depending on the deer population and the plant species, the damage varies from plant to plant.
Dogwood trees are not completely deer-resistant as no landscape plant apart from a few cactus species is free of deer damage. Dogwood has an extensive growth of leaves, some of which are in easy reach of deer.
Although deer often feed on dogwood trees, they do not destroy these trees. Dogwood falls under one of the top deer-resistant shrubs and trees. These flowering trees are not deer-proof but deer-resistant. Deer in the area might attack the lower part of the tree but the grazing animals cannot cause heavy damage to these trees.
Do Deer Eat Dogwood Trees?
Before taking a look at whether deer feed on the dogwood trees or not, let us understand how and what these herbivorous animals feed on. Usually, deer feed on grasses, plants, herbs, and shrubs. Sometimes, they can feed on all sorts of grass and shrubs that come in their way.
Deer often target the gardens in search of food. It can cause serious damage to plants disrupting their growth and most plants not growing back. If the damage is severe, it becomes hard to revive the plant.
Dogwood trees, in general, are considered deer-resistant with the herbivorous animals feeding on them occasionally. If the area is forageable and has a lot of other things, deer would not bother to attack your Dogwood trees.
With Dogwood trees surrounding your orchards and gardens, you can protect other plants from severe animal damage. They can be deer-proof or deer-resistant depending on the area you live in and the species you are growing.
Are Flowering Dogwood Trees Deer Resistant?
Cornus florida or Flowering dogwood is a spectacular flowering plant but when it comes to deterring deer, it fares behind other deer-resistant species such as the Kousa dogwood tree. If you plan to grow these trees, be prepared to protect them from deer by using fences, meshes, and netting.
Flowering dogwood trees are the least deer-resistant plants. In a heavily deer-infested area, this species can face severe damage. But compared to other shrubs and landscape plants, it is still better to plant the flowering dogwood trees.
Are Kousa Dogwood Trees Deer Resistant?
Kousa dogwood or Cornus kousa is a great variety that deters deer and pest attacks. It is easy to grow and maintain this tree with pretty, white flowers. It is a short tree that produces flowers and is one of the best options to prevent deer from entering your home garden.
White-tailed deer cause a lot of damage and destruction to landscape plants and shrubs. The small, flowering Kousa is a much better alternative to flowering dogwood. It works as a great shrub border and prevents deer from entering and attacking the plants.
Which Dogwood Species are the Most Deer Resistant?
There are a couple of species that fare better than the rest in avoiding deer damage. Deer might feed on some shoots and stems, but they would not cause major damage to plants. Let us take a detailed look at some of them.
1. Red Osier Dogwood
Red osier dogwood or Cornus sericea works wonderfully in deterring deer. Their shrubby growth might be targeted at times, but most of the time, you can be sure of no major damage to your plants. Upon maturity, these trees can reach a height of 6 to 9 feet.
This deer-resistant plant also attracts birds and beneficial insects such as butterflies. Apart from repelling deer, its gorgeous reddish-golden stems give an amazing look to the garden.
As explained earlier, Kousa dogwood helps protect the garden from both deer and pest attacks. If you are looking forward to growing a species that can prevent deer from feeding on your plants, go for this one. It can grow up to 30 feet tall.
2. Pink Dogwood
Pink dogwood has a smelly compound that is quite effective in deterring deer from attacking the plants. It is rare for deer to feed on this plant.
3. Red Twigged Dogwood
Red twigged dogwood or Cornus alba which is similar to Red osier dogwood helps in deterring deer under normal growing conditions. It can grow well in direct sunlight and partial shade.
Which Dogwood Species are the Least Deer Resistant?
Here are some species that help keep deer away, but to a lesser extent compared to other popular species. If the deer population in your area is high, these trees might face severe damage in case of a lack of protection.
1. Bloodtwig Dogwood
Deer love to feed on Bloodtwig dogwood or Cornus sanguinea. The hardy branches can be severely damaged if deer find an entry into the garden. It is a flowering tree and can reach a height of up to 6 feet. Deer can munch on its leaves, twigs, branches, and other parts.
2. Alternate-Leaved Dogwood
Alternate-Leaved Dogwood or Cornus alternifolia, commonly also called Pagoda dogwood is a small tree and deer love to munch on this species. You can plant it in your garden but remember to use heavy protection to prevent deer damage.
3. Panicled Dogwood
Panicled or Gray Dogwood or Cornus racemosa is a shrubby plant that attracts deer. It is one of the least-resistant varieties that we would not suggest you grow in your garden. The height of this plant ranges between 4 and 10 feet and it also produces white flowers in clusters.
4. Silky Dogwood
Silky dogwood has shrubs and foliage that are targeted by deer. In winter, deer feed on the foliage and stems of the plant. You could try growing this variety if you want to keep the deer away from other plants.
How To Protect Dogwood Trees From Deer?
If you live in an area where the deer population is very high, you might find it difficult to protect your garden. But since dogwood trees are not their favorite, you can prevent deer invasion to a large extent.
Here are some effective ways by which you can protect your dogwood trees from deer attacks. None of these methods is fool-proof with a 100 percent success rate but they work fine to a large extent.
1. Physical Barriers
Make physical barriers such as large fences to prevent deer attacks on your garden. Large fences make it difficult for the deer to climb up and feed on these trees. Make sure that the fences are about 8 to 10 feet tall to be more effective.
2. Mesh Guards
Encircling the garden with chicken mesh wire fences also helps prevent deer from entering the garden. Install wire-mesh guards around the planted tree’s base. Install larger tree guards around your plants where deer grazing is frequent. Deer can easily graze the foliage to 4 to 5 feet above the ground, so placing higher guards helps minimize the damage.
3. Natural Repellents
Natural deer repellents such as egg whites, essential oils, and other items with a strong smell help in deterring deer. Scatter these items all over your garden to prevent deer from entering.
This is going to be a repetitive process as these natural repellents decompose over time. You need to be regular while applying all these natural oils and egg whites.
4. Mass Planting and Netting
Sometimes, mass planting helps greatly in preventing deer from attacking the garden. Deer are often deterred by spaces that have a lot of trees and plants. Plant a variety of trees so that there is hardly any room left for deer to enter the garden. Install nylon netting over your shrubs to prevent deer from entering.
Most dogwood tree species are tall making it difficult for deer to reach and feed on them. Gardeners grow dogwood trees because they are not just deer-resistant but also because their strong-smelling compound keeps certain insects and animals out of the garden.
We hope our post has helped you learn all about the dogwood trees, the species that are deer resistant and how you can minimize deer damage. Grow these deer-resistant trees to protect your garden. Happy gardening!