Do Deer Eat Arborvitae? How To Protect Your Shrubs from Deer

Arborvitae is a beautiful evergreen shrub that makes a wonderful natural privacy fence when grown in rows. These plants are super easy to care for, and they grow at a rate quicker than most trees.

However, these shrubs can be subject to deer and other pests. Today, we are going to learn how to protect this amazing shrub from getting destroyed by deer.

Summer VS Winter

Do Deer Eat Arborvitae?

You might be wondering do deer eat arborvitae? The answer is yes, they can but only during certain times of the year.

When the days are warm and there is plenty of grass growing, deer will avoid eating arborvitae. They really don’t like the taste of this shrub, and they choose to eat other things. During the summer you don’t have to worry about deer destroying your arborvitae.

During the winter, many things that deer dine on stop growing. This can cause a food shortage, and deer become less picky about what they eat.

In the winter, you may find that deer have been eating your arborvitae, and if left unchecked, they can do a number on the tree.

Tips For Preventing Deer Damage

Do Deer Eat Arborvitae?

There are several different ways you can deter deer from eating arborvitae during the colder months. Below are some surefire ways to protect your plants and keep them healthy, all year long.

Create A Physical Barrier

One of the best ways to keep deer out of your arborvitae is to put up a physical barrier. There are a few materials that you can use to block deer from getting to your shrubs. Burlap, netting, and, mesh all can be used to keep deer at bay.

When creating a physical barrier, make sure that you go up at least 8-feet. Deer are tall when they stand on their hind legs, and you need ample cover to protect your plants.

The best time to put up a physical barrier is in the fall. This will allow you to get ahead of the deer and keep your trees safe. During the spring make sure you remove the barrier to allow your shrubs to get the sunlight they need to thrive.

Add Deer Fencing

While you can create your own physical barrier with mesh or burlap, you can also purchase deer fencing. Deer fencing is easy to install and takes the guesswork out of keeping deer out.

This type of fencing is tall and will prevent deer from jumping over it. Most deer fencing is made from plastic making it lightweight and easy to install.

Use Deer Spray

One of the most effective ways to keep deer from eating arborvitae is by using deer repellent spray. Many commercial deer repellents contain eggs that deer can’t stand the smell of and will stay away from anything you use it on.

Hang Dryer Sheets

Another way to deter deer from coming close to your shrubs is by hanging dryer sheets on them. Just like eggs, deer hate the smell of dryer sheets and will stay away from your property.

Plant Deer-Resistant Arborvitae Varieties

Do Deer Eat Arborvitae?

There are a few arborvitae varieties that deer normally won’t bother. Below you will learn more about these varieties so you can choose one for your property.

Spring Grove

Spring Grove is a variety of arborvitae that deer won’t destroy. This variety is a western red cedar that grows up to 50-feet tall. It does well in most soils and doesn’t mind a few pests here and there.

This tree is very impressive when fully grown and should be planted in full sun. Since this tree grows so tall, it should not be planted near power lines or other overhead utilities.


This variety of arborvitae is also a western cedar that doesn’t mind a few deer eating on it. It can reach heights of up to 8-feet and is perfect for growing along property boundaries.

During the spring of the year, this tree puts on beautiful yellow flowers that stand out from the greenery of the shrub.

Do Deer Eat Arborvitae?: Conclusion

Now that you know the answer to the question do deer eat arborvitae, make sure to protect your trees during the winter.

There are several ways to keep them away, so choose one that best meets your needs.

Related Article: Are Lilac Bushes Deer Resistant?