While deer may appear to be harmless, they are quite a nuisance in the garden.
Deer in the Garden
These super grazers leap over all but the tallest fences to devour the stems, leaves, and buds of many types of plants, including arborvitae, fir, alfalfa, and roses. They also eat fruits and vegetables.
Though pilfering is a problem in every season, spring is when deer are particularly destructive, devouring tasty new shoots with single-minded passion. At this time, the does are either pregnant or are nursing fawns, and the bucks are growing antlers (about half an inch each day) and trying to regain lost weight. To winter-weary deer, your borders and bed in the spring are like salad bars, temptingly full of tender fresh produce.
Deer are most comfortable feeding during the low-light hours—dawn and dusk—on the fringes of woods and in gardens that border dense trees. Deer are highly selective eaters, and they focus on whatever plants or plant parts are currently most nutritious. Especially in the spring, deer view gardens as ways to replace nutrients lost over a winter of eating twigs.