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July 29, 2020 2 min read

Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) are very healthy and edible plants belonging to the nightshade family. They are berries usually red in colour but with green and white varieties. Despite the general notion that it is a vegetable, the tomato plant is, in essence, a fruit. It can be served in different ways including but not limited to salads, sauces, soups and even drinks. The succulent fruit is one of the most preferred deer foods and this begs the question do deer eat tomatoes off the vine?

What do deer commonly feed on?

Deer usually do not discriminate in their feeding habits. This means that they can consume a wide range of food materials. According to an Oregon State University report, they have been known to consume up to 500 different varieties of food items. Also, they have been known to eat tomatoes (both ripe and unripe) together with the leaves and tend to eat of parts of the plants and stem leaving the others as remnants.

In addition to consumption of the plants, deer can also cause extra damages to the surrounding foliage and vines. Being ruminants also means that some common toxic plants such as certain mushroom species can be safely consumed. However, others such as the rhubarb and cucumber leaf have been known to cause toxicity.

Do deer eat tomatoes off the vine?

Based on different experiences of gardeners and farmers alike, the deer have been known to eat tomatoes from the vine. This directly implies that the question do deer eat tomatoes off the vine has a bold yes for an answer. This is because they have been known to jump very high fences whenever they are hungry just to get food from gardens. Due to their height, they can easily reach the upper parts of the vine, trampling the surrounding forage. This serves as a clue to a deer attack in a tomato garden. Mature deer have also been known to feed on trees while standing on both hind limbs.

How to prevent deer from attacking tomatoes? Several methods have been employed by farmers to prevent deer attacks. These include:

Use of fences

A simple wooden fence might suffice but in some cases, owners have been known to uses wire meshes.

Scent detractors

Spreading of animal dung or cultivation of plants with strong smells together with the tomatoes help divert attention from the plants the deer usually consume.

Other methods such as spraying of chemical deer repellents have also proven effective in preventing a deer attack.
Lastly, it can be said that whenever a discussion is raised on the topic do deer eat tomatoes off the vine, the answer will unarguably be a yes since they find the plant attractive and have been known to go to great extremes to enjoy the delicacy known as the tomato. So take the necessary precautions to ensure that the next attack on a tomato garden by a deer herd will not be yours.