Deer Have Chewed Up My Azaleas

Q: Deer have left my azaleas alone for thirty years but this year a young buck has completely defoliated my plants. What should I do with them now? 

A: Deer have incisor teeth in their lower jaw but not in the upper jaw. So when they nibble on a bush, they have to jerk upward once or twice to clip the limb. This usually leaves a ragged end. Your best option is to use hand clippers to make clean cuts on the tips of as many branches as you have the time to care for. This will help prevent stem diseases from invading. Deer control can be an exercise in frustration. Repellents work sometimes. But nothing is 100% effective for deer control except a fence.