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Deer Usually Leave Ferns Alone (But Here’s When They Don’t!)

Deer Usually Leave Ferns Alone (But Here’s When They Don’t!)

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Some people live in areas where there are many deer. You might see them so often in your area that you’ll sometimes spot them out in your yard.

People who have large yards that are close to forested areas are more likely to see deer. Sometimes the local deer will stop by people’s yards to try to eat things that are growing in their garden areas.

This can be annoying when you’re not trying to attract deer to the area. In fact, you might notice that they will munch on plants that aren’t typically considered to be food.

There are plants that people utilize that aren’t supposed to appeal to deer. For instance, many people plant ferns in their gardens because deer aren’t supposed to touch them.

Do deer eat ferns or will they stay away from them? Read on to dig into the details.

Deer Usually Won’t Eat Ferns

Typically, deer won’t eat ferns because they’re not going to appeal to them. Deer have plants that they will gravitate toward because they like to eat them.

This means that planting things such as ferns will likely be perfectly safe. There’s a good chance that deer won’t try to eat your ferns because there will likely be better things for them to eat.

However, it needs to be noted that there is no such thing as a completely deer-safe plant. If a deer gets hungry enough, then it could choose to eat your ferns.

It’s just unlikely that deer will bother with ferns unless they’re really hungry. What situation would cause a deer to be very interested in ferns, though?

Harsh Winters Make Deer Eat Whatever They Can Find

Simply put, harsh winters will force deer to eat whatever they can find. If the local deer population doesn’t have a lot of food in the area, then they’ll have to scrounge and make do with whatever is available.

This means that plants that deer normally wouldn’t bother munching on will be fair game. A deer might see a fern and realize that it’s the best chance that it has to find a meal.

When a deer is hungry enough, it’ll eat plants that normally aren’t something it would like. The deer is smart enough to understand that it needs to eat something to have enough energy to keep going.

Sadly, this does mean that you can’t guarantee that your ferns will be safe from deer. It might just be something that you’ll have to accept.

Fawns Often Eat Whatever While Getting Used to What’s Edible

Fawns are a bit of a different story because they’re still learning what they can and cannot eat. A fawn might choose to eat a little bit of everything while it figures out what it likes.

If you see fawns chomping down on ferns, then that isn’t going to be too unusual. Fawns don’t yet know which plants are the most appealing, and they’ll figure that out as they try more plants.

When you see fawns eating things in your yard, you shouldn’t be too surprised if it nibbles on something that most of the deer stay away from. It’ll probably leave the plant alone after a few nibbles.

Dietary Habits Can Differ From Herd to Herd

It’s also notable that dietary habits can differ from herd to herd. You might see that deer are eating plants such as ferns or lilies in your area, but if you look at what’s happening in another neighborhood, the deer might stay away from those plants there.

For the most part, this has to do with what types of food are available to the deer. In some spots, deer might be able to be pickier about what they’re eating.

When deer live in an area that has an abundance of food options, they won’t have to eat things that they don’t like. Deer might not enjoy eating ferns and lilies, but this doesn’t mean that they won’t do it if they desperately need a meal.

Use Deer Repellent Methods

If you want to keep deer away from your yard, then you could simply use deer repellent methods. There are quite a few ideas that you could use to get good results.

Some people choose to spray repellents that use predator urine as a base. These sprays can be effective when you’re trying to scare deer away from the area.

If you want to use something a bit simpler, then you could make a repellent that utilizes deodorant bars. The scent coming from the deodorant is going to make the deer want to stay away from the area.

You could poke a hole through a deodorant bar and hang it near the plants. This should make it so that the deer won’t come around any longer.

Perhaps you’d like to use something that’s a bit more modern to repel the deer. Many companies have developed ultrasonic deer repellent devices.

These devices use ultrasonic sound waves to keep deer at bay. Devices such as this can work to repel many other types of animals as well, such as squirrels, raccoons, and mice.

They’re really simple to use, too, since you can just stake them into the ground. Most of these devices are solar-powered so you don’t have to worry about charging them.

Final Thoughts

Yes, deer will sometimes eat ferns, but they might not bother with them if they have better things to eat. Often, deer will only eat plants that they wouldn’t usually bother when they are having a tough time finding food.

Sometimes deer will have to go through harsh winters and food will become scarce. A deer will happily eat a fern if it means getting a meal when it has no other options.

You can’t know for sure whether a deer is going to try to eat your ferns or not. It might leave the ferns alone, but it might choose to eat them if it feels that it needs to.

Protecting your plants is going to be easier if you choose to use repellent methods. There are many repellent methods to choose from, and all of them work really well.

It shouldn’t be too hard to protect your garden area from the local deer population. So long as you’re being proactive, you won’t have nearly as much to worry about.


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