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January 13, 2021 3 min read

Are you cultivating junipers for privacy? Then you might ask – do deer eat junipers? This article will talk about the relationship between junipers and deer and whether it is the right choice in an area with a high deer population.

Evergreens are the most common choice for privacy planting. However, popular ones like holly, yew, and arborvitae, can be eaten by deer at any time, which is alarming. Because the last thing you want to worry about is deer damage, you need to take great care of your choices. So, you might ask – what about juniper plants? Do deer eat juniper?

Junipers as deer-resistant plants

Luckily, junipers have a much better record than arborvitaes for privacy planting. They have an excellent track record of deer resistance. Juniper is a part of the cypress family known for its pungent fragrance, sharp prickly needles, and bitter-tasting bark. Deer do not like plants with such features and will most likely ignore them.

However, not all juniper species offer excellent deer resistance. Do note that Junipers has over 170 variants and species. We recommend that you choose a variety of upright juniper. Upright junipers such as Skyrocket, Chinese Juniper, Blue Arrow, Moonglow, Wichita Blue, Blue Point, Mountbatten, and Blue Haven are excellent choices. These junipers will add beauty to your landscape, alongside the right amount of screening you desire. They require little or no maintenance and hardy through zone 4. Once established, they can resist drought, making them excellent for all seasons. In sharp contrast, avoid cultivating junipers like shore juniper, Youngstown Andorra Juniper, and Single seed Juniper because they are susceptible to deer damage.

No way to completely deer-proof your landscape

Even as junipers offer excellent deer resistance, you must realize that your location and other environmental factors may change the narrative. For instance, if your area has the coldest winters, a good chance deer will feast on your junipers, regardless of the species you cultivate. Deer adapt fast to any situation and will eat anything if desperate enough. Even prickly spruce variants and Pieris, also known as deer non-favorites, become dinner specialties in winter.

What’s more, certain juniper species such as Rocky Mountain juniper are especially attractive for buck rubbing. When bucks rub against plants, they cause undue harm and will ultimately kill the plant.

Preventing deer damage to your juniper plants

Because there is no way to stop deer from feeding on your junipers, ultimately, you should consider other deer deterrent methods. Of course, the most effective is a 10-foot wooden fence, but fencing is too costly and may not be feasible for some people. You can consider using individual fencing with pound T-posts or rebar.

Plastic or polypropylene deer fencing of about 8 feet can also provide adequate protection. Electric fencing is also a popular choice, but you must think about your source of electricity. If you are off-the-grid, then it is a viable option. However, do ensure your fencing options tower above 8 feet to prevent deer from jumping over and into your fields.

Concluding thoughts

Do deer eat juniper? Not really. At first glance, juniper is not a deer favorite, but it can be in certain situations. Some juniper species are also more attractive to deer than others. Therefore, you should stick to juniper variants that offer higher resistance. Regardless, junipers offer great screening and can add to the esthetics of your property. With the proper measures, you can reduce the risks of deer damage and enjoy your evergreens all year round.

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