Monitoring Deer Preferences on Popular Landscape Plants

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Virginia Tech

The following research utilized representative landscape plants to track the tendencies of deer browsing. The project included four test plots and one control plot. Each plot was 1.2m x 1.8m. The plant varieties used were Lantana ‘Confetti’ (Lantana camera), Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sunrise’ (Echinacea hybrid), Zonal Geranium ‘Allure Lilac Chiffon’ (Pelargonium hortorum), Azalea ‘Snow’ (Rhododendron mucronatum), and Golden Euonymus (Ovatus Aureus). The sites were evaluated three times each week, for six months by counting the tips of plants that were eaten. These assessments provided the opportunity to evaluate the severity of browsing on each plant that was eaten and the preference of deer for each plant species. After six months of plots subject to herbivory, Euonymus and Azalea received the greatest amount of foraging activity.

deer, feeding, grazing, landscape, residential, garden