Do Deer Eat Fig Trees?

Deer can be a persistent problem in your yard or garden as they tend to eat nearly every type of fruit plant and flowering shrub they can find. If you’re wondering, ‘do deer eat fig trees?’

Quick answer

Deer normally won’t eat the fruit nor the leaves of a fig tree. They are known to eat them in certain instances such as when there’s no other food source around and when they’re hungry.

Do Deer Eat Fig Trees?

Do Deer Eat Fig Trees?

Deer are known to devour and destroy edible trees and plants and raze them to the ground. Homeowners and gardeners who live in areas where there are herds of deer might want to look out for these animals every now and then and try to deter them from eating their favorite plants.

Deer do eat fig trees but only when it’s ‘necessary’. Although fig trees are largely considered by many to be ‘deer resistant’, nature can take its course during certain instances.

These animals will eat any food source they come across, and if they’re hungry enough then your fig trees won’t be an exception. Young fig trees that aren’t as tall and have young, tender stems and leaves are fair game to deer.

Older trees may prove to be too tall for the deer to reach, but they can still target the lower growth and cause significant damage.

It’s worth noting that fig trees do have a defense mechanism that repels deer and similar wildlife. When the figs are still unripe the plant releases latex sap that’s waxy and white on the tips and leaves, and this serves as a deterrent to them.

Fig trees that are on deer paths and young plants can still be eaten by deer, and the fig tree is no exception. If there aren’t any other plants or trees that they like, they will make do with your fig tree and eat some of it to survive.

Deer aren’t your only problem, though. Monkeys, squirrels, bats and capybara are known to eat ripe fig fruits and cause damage to their stems and leaves.

Will Deer Eat Fig Fruits and Tree Leaves?

Do Deer Eat Fig Trees?

Many experts claim that fig trees are deer-resistant, and they’re correct to a degree. The tree has a special defense mechanism, mainly in the form of a waxy sap that gets released when a leaf or stem is disturbed or broken.

A deer trying to snack on a young fig tree with unripe fruit will likely get a rude awakening as they will find themselves eating thick latex. To this end they will either try another plant nearby or look somewhere else for their next snack.

It’s worth noting that the amount of latex sap decreases when the figs are ripe, which makes them more susceptible to deer foraging. However, they might not repeat the same habit if they catch a mouthful of the white sap.

In general, deer tend to avoid fig trees, but when times are tough or when they’re hungry then your small fig tree can prove to be a viable snack.

How Do I Protect My Fig Tree From Deer?

Do Deer Eat Fig Trees?

There are several ways to keep deer away from your fig tree.

One, you can build a fence as a deterrent, particularly woven wire barriers that are 8 feet in height. You must install them anywhere between two to three feet in the ground so the deer won’t be able to uproot or squirm underneath.

For a more advanced option you can have an electric current running so the deer gets a small shock whenever they try to attempt eating your fig tree.

Two, you can purchase deer repellent products and apply them to your fig tree on a dry day. Essential oil, wolf urine and hot peppers are just some of the few known products- spray them on the fig tree and on the ground and apply it on a regular basis.

Do Deer Eat Fig Trees?: Final thoughts

You can pair up a motion detector device with a water sprinkler or gadget that produces a lot of noise to limit deer movement in your yard or garden.

Last but not the least, you can plant known deer-repellents such as lavender, rosemary, thyme, garlic, mint and marigolds around your fig or fruit trees.

Related Article: Are Lilac Bushes Deer Resistant?