Q: We love the mountains and woods but we are having a constant problem with deer. They have severely eaten my ‘Nellie R. Stevens’ holly and ligustrums, both of which we were told “Deer do not eat!”. How do I get the plants to make more leaves in spring?
A: My rule of thumb for deer is that they will eat anything if they are hungry enough. Repellents keep them at bay for a while but are not foolproof. Drought reduced the amount of woodland browse available to deer in north Georgia. Now your normally-unpalatable shrubbery looks delicious. Since deer gnaw on branch ends rather than making a clean cut, prune branch tips back to a bud or larger branch when the deer stop visiting this spring. I’ve collected a list of plants that deer normally avoid, as well as plants they prefer, at Deer-Tolerant Ornamental Plants.