Oh deer! Roses, tulips and holly are the favourite snacks for garden invaders including roe, muntjac and fallow deer
- Deer are increasingly sneaking into towns and cities at night to feed on flowers
- Royal Horticultural Society surveyed 800 Brits on the damage deers cause
- Prize roses, geraniums and camellias are a particular target for hungry deer
- Gardeners should replace these with daphnes, buddleias and globe thistles
Swapping your tulips for daffodils may avoid them being eaten by hungry deer.
Deer are increasingly sneaking into towns and cities at night to feed on garden plants.
The Royal Horticultural Society says prize roses are a particular target for hungry deer, along with geraniums and camellias.
Gardeners who want to protect their handiwork may be advised to replace these blooms with daphnes, buddleias and globe thistles.
These are far less popular, so less likely to be munched by roe, muntjac and fallow deer.
Those who grow their own should replace raspberries and runner beans with rhubarb, whose leaves deer will leave alone due to their high concentration of toxic oxalic acid.
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Swapping your tulips for daffodils may avoid them being eaten by hungry deer. Deer are increasingly sneaking into towns and cities at night to feed on garden plants (pictured)
The survey found roe deer have been seen in almost two-thirds of gardens, with muntjac seen in 41 per cent of gardens, and fallow deer spotted in nine per cent of gardens owned by those who responded (stock image)
Deer are now established in cities across Britain, with many families waking to find the animals have stripped shoots, foliage and flower buds off their plants overnight.
The RHS surveyed almost 800 British members on the damage they cause, compiling 2,000 records for 185 popular garden plants.
The survey found roe deer have been seen in almost two-thirds of gardens, with muntjac seen in 41 per cent of gardens, and fallow deer spotted in nine per cent of gardens owned by those who responded.
If they could see deer had tucked into a plant, people were asked to record the amount of damage on a sliding scale from untouched to impossible to grow.
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This revealed that tulips, roses and holly are among those with a more than 40 per cent chance of being chomped.
Jenny Bowden, horticultural adviser at the RHS, said: ‘Our findings suggest that deer have a taste for certain plants, although it’s worth remembering that what is a food favourite in one garden might not be in another.
‘While a little bit of damage won’t mean you’ll want to give up, if damage is sustained and bothersome, switching to plants shown to be less appealing might do the trick.
‘You never know, you might also be inspired to grow something new.’
Gardeners who want to protect their handiwork may be advised to replace these blooms with daphnes, buddleias and globe thistles. Daffodils (pictured) are also largely shunned by deer
Deer are now widespread now than at any time in the past 1,000 years, with up to two million believed to live in Britain. In 2017, it was reported by the Deer Initiative that they are now established in cities including Bristol, Manchester, Milton Keynes and even Glasgow.
Deer will eat tree bark in winter when food is scarce and plants they have attacked tend to have a ragged cut end where the animals have bitten through the stem and tugged a shoot off.
Plants popular with deer include rhododendrons and holly, but gardeners have less chance of damage if they plant primulas and red hot pokers.
The RHS also recommends other precautions including planting closer to the house and protecting all new plants with netting until they are established.
Deer-proof fencing should be up to six feet tall, with heavy-duty wire on the bottom half pegged to the ground, so deer cannot lift it and squeeze underneath. Hedges are also an effective barrier.
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