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September 22, 2020 2 min read

Do Deer eat eastern red cedar? A lot of hunters and growers ask this question a lot. Here is what you must know about Deer and eastern red cedar.

The Eastern red cedar is a common evergreen found within the eastern part of North America. They grow on the open fields, pastures, back roads, highways, and even as fences. Due to their hardiness, they are not likely managed, mowed, or maintained. Due to its invasive properties, it can quickly populate abandoned sites or neglected fields and are fast becoming a threat to other plants in Kansas and Oklahoma. However, for many hunters and planters, the question in their mind is this – do deer eat eastern red cedar?

Eastern red cedar as a food source

Concerning the question above, there is no absolute answer. Deer can rely on the eastern cedar for food and shelter. In truth, the whitetail deer and the mule deer will often feed on its blue fruits, twigs, barks, and all other aspects. The eastern red cedar is also an organic insect repellent. Hence, Deer and other animals may likely stay sheltered under them during hot days for cover while repelling insects.

For deer deterrent

The Eastern red cedar can also be cultivated by growers to keep Deer away from other plants in your garden. Because they are Deer resistant, deer may likely not feed on them during the summers. However, they become fodder for food during the winters as the Eastern red cedar can sustain itself during the drier months. Nevertheless, deer may likely never cause real damage to the Eastern red cedar when it feeds on it because the red cedar is remarkably hardy. Cultivating it can thus be beneficial for both the hunters and the growers.

Drawbacks of cultivating the eastern red cedar

However, like everything that looks too good, there are more drawbacks to planting the Eastern red cedar. Excessive red cedar populations can impair the growth of other relevant browse and mast production. They also form closed canopies that can capture, hold, and transpire a total amount of annual rainfall, limiting rains from reaching nearby streams. However, in areas where yearly rainfalls are over 50 inches every year, it shouldn’t be an issue.

Wherever rains are a problem, the lack of water access can limit the growth of forb and grass. The Eastern wood cedar also secrets toxins into the soil, which further limits other plants’ development. Therefore, if you plan on cultivating them, ensure your property does not have too many red cedars in a place. Do not also let them spread too much. We recommend using cedar logs as lumber and brush-pile bedding or fence posts to keep away Deer from your other plants. Still, you can also cultivate them for small-game covers.

Concluding Thoughts

Do Deer eat eastern red cedar? Yes, they do, but most especially in the winter months, and may not damage these plants. Overall, the Eastern wood cedars is an evergreen plant that is highly beneficial to hunters and growers alike. Still, they can be too much of a good thing if left to grow wild as they can limit other competing plants’ growth.