Do deer eat azaleas?

Do deer eat azaleas? Azaleas are brightly colored plants that offer delight to your home.  If you are planting them, then you need to know whether azaleas are deer resistant and, if not, what you can do to prevent deer from eating them.

Azaleas are known for their innate beauty. They are bright, vibrant spring blooms, with a pleasant aroma that can brighten your day. Therefore, the thought of having deer go through your gorgeous azaleas can be horrifying. So, you may ask—do deer eat azaleas?

Unfortunately, azaleas are not a deer resistant plant. They are a favorite nighttime snack for deer. This is, of course, a cause for concern. Let’s look at some ways you can help protect your Azaleas from deer damage.

Deer Resistance

You can plant deer-resistant plants at the edge of your property to keep deer out. Some of them include boxwood,  juniper, arrow wood, Andromeda, Bluebeard, Russian sage, butterfly bush, and lots more. Do bear in mind that deciduous azaleas are rated “frequently severely damaged” by Rutgers University. However, a good number of factors have changed reality.

Many regions complain of a higher deer population, which means deer in that area have less to eat. The higher the deer population in an area, the more desperate and hungrier they are, which means they will eat everything, including the most toxic plants. Overall, it would help if you surrounded your azaleas with a deer-resistant hedge to keep them away effectively.

How to protect your azaleas

Luckily, there are ways you can grow azaleas while limiting the extent of deer damage.

Fencing

An 8 foot can help prevent deer from entering your property. You can use a wire, electric, or conventional fence. However, walls of 5-6 feet are not effective as deer can jump over that height. If you wish a shorter wall, you should consider two parallel fences of the same size, with about two inches between them.

Individual fencing

You can also use wire mesh, deer netting, or burlap around your azaleas, individually. This is especially important when your azaleas are young.

Repellents

Taste or noise deterrents are also useful. However, you must alternate between at least two repellents to prevent deer from becoming too familiar with them.

Dealing with damaged azaleas

There is no permanent solution to discourage deer, so sometimes mishaps happen. If you have some azaleas damaged by deer, you may nurse it back to life using these tips:

Relocate your azaleas to a place where the deer cannot reach or use the methods outlined above to keep them off.

Prune off damaged and broken branches

Wet the soil around your azaleas and add a dense layer of mulch around it. This will stop weed growth, thereby conserving the nutrients, so your plant can get all it needs to recover. You can either use leaf mulch or wood mulch of at least 2 inches. Please note that merely fertilizing your azaleas may only make them attract more deer, especially if there is no fence to deter them.

Concluding thoughts

Do deer eat azaleas? Yes, they do. Azaleas might not top their least desirable food sources, but they are still pretty much high as a cause for concern at any season. Invest in a fence, repellent, and any other repellent methods to keep them away. It is better to use a combination of different techniques, so you can cover all areas, thereby minimizing or preventing deer damage.

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Brad

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