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Forest garden plants that deer won't eat

 
pollinator
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As to plants/bushes/trees "deer won't eat" there is likely no such thing - it is all about how desperate they are. These lists are more a "less preferred" group of plants, in my opinion.

Sometimes it makes more sense to plant food they love, specifically for them to eat, so that what else is on offer is LESS desirable.

Given drought, fire, high snowfall or other issues that remove access to their preferred feed, they will eat ANYTHING" to survive, as any human, animal or bird would do.

Guardian dogs, fencing or providing alternative sources of food are the three tried and true methods of co-existing with deer, in the long run, unless one accepts their needs and is willing to share if the natural resources are too deficient.
 
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Janet Reed wrote:
Would you happen to know the botanical name?



Mine were marketted as "Chichiquelite Huckleberry" from Baker Creek.

I think their name is Solanum retroflexum. They are definitely a different species than yours, and are annuals.

I should plant some of your species in my yard, but alas my soil is way to alkaline, and your huckleberries love very acidic soil, being closely related to blueberries.

Yours is some variety of either Vaccinium or Gaylussacia probably Vaccinium deliciosum, or Gaylussacia baccata, but there's at least a dozen species of "Huckleberry" in the Vaccinium and Gaylussacia categories!

Definitely wish I could grow them here! I tried with blueberries, but it just takes too much work keeping the soil sufficiently acidic.
 
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Lorinne Anderson wrote:What I know as "huckleberry" is a small red fruit, half the size of large pea, or the same size as a small pea. It is a very pale red to orangey pink, and looks so much like a salmon egg they are often used in fishing as bait.

The flavor is delicious, tart and sweet, and they sort of pop as you bite down. They grow on a low bush, love the shaded environment of our coastal rain forest, often preferring fallen Doug fir trunks and stumps to grow from. Even a perfectly loaded bush would likely only yield a cup of berries, as they grow individually, not clustered (like grapes).  

These were one of the first fruits we learned to identify as children on hikes, and a laden bush was always a welcome, thirst quenching delight.

Same ecosystem, but there's something in raw huckleberries I CAN NOT eat. It seems weird, but I tested it carefully and I have a strong stomach reaction and I've also double checked my identification - similar fruit structure as the local Saskatoon berries and Blueberries which I am able to eat. So it's a good reminder to taste-test any new plant carefully.

Despite the time, if there's a good crop on our land I will pick them for muffins or similar - I'm fine with them cooked.
 
Lorinne Anderson
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Jay: any chance it could be a pollen or spore reaction to other plants/trees??? Just a thought.
 
Jay Angler
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Lorinne Anderson wrote:Jay: any chance it could be a pollen or spore reaction to other plants/trees??? Just a thought.

Possibly - they're under-story to cedar and Doug Fir on my land, and I have a history of getting hives from "unidentified tree pollen" in years when spring hit suddenly.
 
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roberta mccanse wrote:

We have planted a traffic island with things that aren't supposed to tempt deer. Don't want them getting hit by the cars whizzing by. Not much of what we planted there is edible however. Who wants to eat barberry?
.




Who wants to eat barberries!? I DO!!!   Zereshk Polow (Persian Barberry Rice)

Sandy
 
Jay Angler
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Does anyone know how happy deer are to eat Salal? (Gaultheria shallon) They have very waxy leaves, but so does Laurel and they'll eat that - or at least the new growth - when desperate. (Then again, maybe they'll eat anything when desperate).
That said, maybe the more crucial question is whether they'll eat Salal berries?  I've seen them reach in carefully on the Himalayan blackberry plants to specifically eat the fruit, and the reason I'd grow the Salal is for the berries.

I'm thinking they'd grow well on the north side of a Hugel. They seem to do well in partial shade and survive in deeper shade.
 
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Some may want to eat barberries. My point was that deer, and others, will probably not want to eat the spiky bushes. Ouch.
 
Jay Angler
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roberta mccanse wrote:Some may want to eat barberries. My point was that deer, and others, will probably not want to eat the spiky bushes. Ouch.

I have chickens that will eat Canada Thistle, so there always seems to be something that has a trick to get through the defenses!
 
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Do thorny plants like blackberry brambles deter deer at all? I want to protect my cherry trees which the deer go after hard. I've seen on Edible Acres Youtube channel that tall, dry grasses like miscanthus stalks and likely bamboo tend to protect plants from deer but have not tried this myself yet.
 
Jay Angler
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Ryan Kremer wrote:Do thorny plants like blackberry brambles deter deer at all? I want to protect my cherry trees which the deer go after hard. I've seen on Edible Acres Youtube channel that tall, dry grasses like miscanthus stalks and likely bamboo tend to protect plants from deer but have not tried this myself yet.

Much is dependent on just how hungry the deer are and how much they like what you're growing. There are things I do which helps, but are no guarantee. For example, I pin male dog fur on stakes or low fencing and that sometimes deters them (you have to refresh it seasonally and after the birds steal it for nests - stacking functions!) I've tried planting walking onion and garlic in a ring around some plants and it's helped, but last year a deer ate all the garlic I planted in a friend's garden for her. I've tried putting different sized plant pots/boxes/cans around plants to make a chaotic barrier and it's helped. One section of fencing which was too low to keep deer from jumping, I slid the top bits and branches of bamboo into it to make the upper edge poky and uneven and they didn't jump it, but I believe they will eat bamboo shoots - at least Phyllostachys dulcis - as I *thought* the fencing I'd put up was tall enough to stop the geese from eating it, and something chewed the top. My local deer are definitely more attracted to certain plants - they particularly like my espalier Asian pear tree, ripe tomatoes, and I'll swear bean plants are their equivalent of morning coffee smell calling coffee aficionados.

I'm not in a position to fence large areas and it can take substantial fencing to truly exclude them, which is why I'm on this thread trying to look for more options. Personally, I would try a multi-pronged approach and multi-level. If you can make that bone guck that Sepp Holzer uses, that might help also, but I don't have access to it at this point.
 
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I'm loving all the different descriptions of the berries!
 
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