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CEG Deer Resistant Garden

Program Contact: Master Gardeners
(509) 667-6540 • chelanmastergardeners@gmail.com

The Deer Resistant Garden in the Community Education Garden tests plants to identify those less affected by winter deer browsing. Deer are in this area in the winter, not the summer, so the garden focuses on evergreens. The garden was started in May, 2013.  This list of plants is current as of April, 2019.

Trees

  • Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Dow Whiting’ –  false cypress
  • Juniperus scopulorum ‘Blue Arrow’ –  juniper
  • Juniperus scopulorum ‘Skyrocket’ – juniper
  • Picea abies ‘Pendula’ – weeping Norway spruce
  • Picea omorika ‘Nana’ – dwarf Siberian spruce
  • Picea pungens ‘Bakeri’ – blue spruce
  • Picea pungens ‘Iseli Fasigiate’ – columnar blue spruce
  • Picea pungens ‘Montgomery’ – blue spruce
  • Pinus cembra ‘Prairie Statesman’ – Swiss stone pine
  • Pinus leucodermis ‘Banderica’ – Bosnian pine
  • Pinus mugo ‘Columnaris’ – columnar mugo pine
  • Pinus parviflora ‘Goldilocks’ – white pine

Shrubs

  • Berberis japonica – large leaf barberry
  • Calluna vulgaris ‘Wickwar Flame’ – heather
  • Erica cinerea ‘Atropurpurea’ – purple bell heather
  • Erica x darleyensis ‘Mediterranean Pink Heath’ – winter heath
  • Fothergilla gardenia – dwarf fothergilla
  • Genista lydia – broom, woadwaxen
  • Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’
  • Juniperus procumbens ‘Green Mound’ –  dwarf groundcover juniper
  • Nandina domestica ‘Gulf Stream’ – dwarf nandina
  • Potentilla fruticose ‘Goldfinger’ – shrubby cinquefoil
  • Prunus laurocerasus ‘Otto Luyken’ – english laurel
  • Spiraea japonica ‘Anthony Waterer’ – Japanese spirea
  • Spiraea japonica ‘Little Princess’ –  Japanese spirea
  • Syringa pubescens subsp. patula ‘Miss Kim’ – Korean lilac
  • Viburnum opulus ‘Nanum’ – dwarf European cranberry bush
  • Weigela florida ‘Verweig’ MY MONET – weigela
  • Weigela x ‘Raspberry Lemonade’ –  weigela

Perennials

  • Euphorbia x martinii ‘Ascot Rainbow’ – ‘Ascot Rainbow’ spurge
  • Hemerocallis ‘Stella de Oro’ –  day lily
  • Paeonia lactiflora ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ – peony

What we have learned

2019 – Winter snows were deep this winter. In early March, there is evidence of light deer browsing on the top shoots of the ‘Otto Luyken’ laurels, more on the smaller of the two shrubs. In the adjacent Welcome Garden, deer browsed the top several feet of the columnar holly shrubs to the shrubs’ trunks. They also nibbled the tips of the two short Dwarf Eastern White Pines.
2018- In early March, with no snow on the ground, there is evidence of light deer browsing on the top shoots of the ‘Otto Luyken’ laurels, more on one than the other. In the adjacent Welcome Garden, deer browsed the columnar holly shrubs to the shrubs’ trunks. By mid-summer, the laurel is full; the width is as expected, though the plant is shorter than expected. The hollies in the adjacent garden show growth at the tops, but the sections nibbled over the winter are not as full.

2017- In early March, with about 10 inches of snow on the ground, evidence of light deer browsing on a portion of the ‘Otto Luyken’ laurel above the snow line. In the adjacent Welcome Garden, the deer browsed the holly shrubs.  In mid-March, deer rubbed the bark off a section of sumac shrub in the Natives and More garden.

2016- In mid-January, with about a foot of snow on the ground, evidence of heavy deer browsing on the ‘Otto Luyken’ laurels.  In the adjacent Welcome Garden, the deer browsed several holly shrubs.

In mid-May, fresh growth on the laurels shows the plants are recovering well after winter deer browsing. In the adjacent Welcome Garden, the hollies are recovering with fresh growth.

2015 – No evidence of deer browsing until April, when a few nibbles are evident on the 2 smaller of the 3 ‘Otto Luyken’ laurels. These 2 shrubs were planted in 2014 and are about 18″ tall.  Not related to deer browse, a pieris ‘Fire N Ice’ and a hinoki died, both likely due to a warm October, then cold snap in November and the plants were not yet dormant. Both were planted in 2014 and removed in 2015.

2014 – No evidence of deer browsing

Resources

Deer Resistant Plants– WSU Extension, Spokane County
Living with Deer– Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife

Washington State University