Posted by & filed under Winter

When the snow finally melts, many folks in Rochester and Western New York will discover that the trees and shrubs in their yards have been damaged by deer. You may have tried fencing, home remedies, or deer repellents to keep hungry deer away.

Unfortunately, these tactics are not usually effective long-term. If the damage is significant enough, you may be thinking about replacing the damaged trees or shrubs with deer proof or deer resistant trees. This is a great strategy, and one that can be effective. However, it is important to know that when food is scarce (like during long winters), deer will eat any type of plant, including the deer resistant varieties. However, planting deer resistant trees and shrubs is likely your best bet when it comes to warding off hungry deer.


So what are some of the best deer proof trees and shrubs to plant? First and foremost, find out what Plant Hardiness Zone you live in. The Greater Rochester Area and Monroe County fall into Zone 6 (Zone 6a and Zone 6b specifically). Knowing this, you can then choose a plant that will thrive in your region. Here are a few deer resistant plants that do well in our area. You’ll notice that all three types of recommended trees and shrubs are evergreens, making them prickly in texture, and therefore rather unsavory for deer to eat.

Spruce Trees

Photo Credit: Bert Cregg, MSU

Spruce trees are coniferous evergreen trees that can grow to 60 to 200 feet tall! With around 35 varieties of spruce, it may seem daunting trying to decide which is best for you. The Colorado Spruce, White Spruce, and Norway Spruce are suggested for the Rochester and Monroe County areas.


Pine Trees

Photo Credit: Bert Cregg, MSU

Spruce trees are coniferous evergreen trees that can grow to 60 to 200 feet tall! With around 35 varieties of spruce, it may seem daunting trying to decide which is best for you. The Colorado Spruce, White Spruce, and Norway Spruce are suggested for the Rochester and Monroe County areas.

Common Boxwood

Photo Credit: www.arborday.org

The Common Boxwood is technically an evergreen shrub, but it can grow to be 15 feet in height if left unpruned. The Common Boxwood contains an alkaloid, or organic compound, that makes them unpalatable to deer. This alkaloid, combined with the Common Boxwood’s prickly nature, makes them a solid choice for a deer resistant plant.


Remember, all trees, plants, and shrubs can become food if deer are hungry enough. However, prickly spruce trees, pine trees, and the Common Boxwood are among your safest choices for deer resistant or deer proof plants.

Photo Credit: Jeff Frew

Photo Credit: Jeff Frew

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