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Will Lilac Bushes Deter Deer?

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Q: We enjoy having deer come into our backyard from the woods. If I planted a lilac bush, would it deter the deer from coming? Or do deer just not feed on lilac bushes?

Hardiness Zone: 6a

Sandy from Alton, IL

A: Sandy,

Lilacs will not deter the deer from coming into your backyard. No plants will. Lilacs are considered deer-resistant, however, meaning that unless the deer in your area are feeling pressure from a lack of available food, chances are they will pass lilacs up in favor of other, more appealing plants. Supposedly, plants like catmint, lavender, thyme, sage and rosemary are also repulsive to deer. In fact, many plants with a strong smell, like marigolds for example, are likely to act as a grazing deterrent when planted near more tasty plants like your veggies, tulips or hosta. The only sure-fire way to deter deer from exploring your garden buffet is to have your dog stand watch in the yard or erect an 8-ft high fence. So go ahead and plant a lilac bush, just understand that you could eventually find yourself enjoying watching the deer while they nibble on its branches.


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Recent Answers

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By Paul (Guest Post)10/28/2008

LOL! I found this thread while looking for info on how to deter deer from eating mylilacs during the winter.

By Guest (Guest Post)05/03/2008

Wow! That's extreme! I have had no problem with deer when it comes to herbs (except parsley) or, as stated, strong-smelling plants. I'm the woman sniffing leaves at the garden center. They have mowed down hostas and lillies, among other things, I spray particular favorites with a mixture of egg and water in a Windex bottle and this has worked very well for me. Don't give up hope!

By brenda newton [6]04/20/2006

No, a lilac bush will not deter the deer. In fact, they will eat it. You will probably never see it bloom and it will remain about the same height it was when you purchased it. I know. Deer are the biggest pests I know of. If you enjoy the deer coming into your yard then you must not have any annuals, perennials or young trees in your yard. I have had to do a lot of protecting here in my yard in order to see my 'stuff' bloom.

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