Crepe myrtles, also spelled as crape myrtles, are a genus of 50 species of deciduous trees and shrubs. These trees are native to India, Southeast Asia, northern Australia, and some parts of Oceania. These trees are well known for their colorful and long-lasting flowers in summer.
Do deer eat crepe myrtle? Are they deer resistant?
Deer do eat crepe myrtle, but rarely. Even when they are hungry, they will eat other plants that are not ideal but will not eat crepe myrtle. The reason is, crepe myrtles are deer resistant. For this, crepe myrtles have smooth mottled bark to defend themselves.
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Crepe myrtles are deer resistant. As a result, deer do not feed on crepe myrtles, so these trees are described as “seldom damaged”. As these plants are deer resistant, deer do not even feed on them occasionally, let alone by habit.
Hungry deer tend to eat plants or vegetations that do not have the ideal characteristics of their diet. Also, depending on climate conditions and food supply, they decide to eat plants that they do not usually consume.
Deer are most likely to eat unpredicted food during the spring season while most plants undergo new growth.
Deer look forward to eating the tender growth, flower buds, and berries, of plants since they expect these parts to have high water content. To avoid getting consumed by deer, crepe myrtles have smooth blotchy barks.
Their blotchy barks make them deer resistant, and hence, deer seldom eat any variety of crepe myrtles.
5reasons why deer seldom eats crepe myrtle
Occasionally, deer browse through crepe myrtles. Deer browsing through crepe myrtles, however, is something that does not always happen. Reasons why deer seldom eats crepe myrtle are:
Crepe myrtles have smooth, exfoliating barks that cannot be easily chewed on by deer, and so, deer do not prefer eating the body or branches of the plant.
Even though crepe myrtles have bright colored flowers, these flowers have paper-like textures and hence, do not attract deer.
As mentioned earlier, deer only eat parts of a plant that are expected to have high water potential and since these paper-like flowers do not have much water in them, deer are uninterested in consuming them.
Crepe myrtles have flowers that give off a strong scent and deer are not fond of strong scents giving flowers and so, leave them without eating.
Deer avoid plants that are toxic to them, and crepe myrtles are considered slightly harmful to deer.
Are dwarf crepe myrtles deer resistant?
Yes, dwarf crepe myrtles are deer resistant. While no plant can be considered deer-proof, deer do not like consuming any variety of crepe myrtles.
Deer consider all crepe myrtles to be the same inedible plant. Crepe myrtles are slightly toxic to deer so, they keep away from these plants. Deer do not care about the height or the variety of the crepe plant so, even dwarf crepe plants can be said to be deer resistant.
How do I protect my crape myrtle from deer?
While deer do not eat crepe myrtles, they do damage the plants with their antlers. Following the suggestions below will help protect the crepe myrtles from deer damage.
The first and the most effective way is to use Liquid Fence. Liquid Fence is a product that contains garlic which creates a strong scent that is disagreeable to deer. So, deer do not come close to anything surrounded by Liquid Fence.
Damaged parts of crepe myrtles can be pruned. Pruning will allow the plant to heal itself by regrowing its damaged parts.
Building a fence of wood or metal will prevent deer from coming close to the protected plants and damaging them.
Deers have a strong sense of smell and, if they smell coffee grounds nearby, they will feel the presence of humans nearby and stay away from the property.
What flowering trees are deer-resistant?
Where there are a considerable number of deer, people consider planting plants that are deer resistant. Growing any one of the plants from the list below will ensure that no deer harms the growing plant as all of the listed plants are deer resistant.
Fringe trees are shade tolerant but will also tolerate full sun if available. These trees are deer resistant and will grow at -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Fringe trees require a lot of water and reach about 15 to 20 feet tall.
White Fringe tree:
The White Fringe trees are similar to the Fringe trees mentioned before. These trees are native to Eastern US, unlike the Chinese Fringe trees. White Fringe trees also grow about 20 feet tall and are deer resistant.
Saucer Magnolia flowers are resistant to deer damage even though these look very delicate. Like most Magnolias, this tree is quite a deer-resistant tree. Full-grown Saucer Magnolias reach 25 feet in height.
Serviceberry trees may reach about 40 feet in height and tolerate partial shade to full sun. They are native to North America and are well known for the delicious fruits they bear. Numerous species of the Serviceberry show quality resistance to deer.
Flowering Quince are known more for their red and pink flowers than for their fruits. These are dwarf plants and grow to be only about 6 feet tall. Although a dwarf plant, it is deer-resistant.
There are multiple species of Hawthorn trees and almost all of them are tough, adaptable, and can tolerate both wet and dry sites. They produce bitter crabapple-like fruits and are considered to be deer resistant.
Chinese Dogwoods produce red berries that are bland and, the trees get fully covered with flowers in spring. These trees reach 20 feet high and are deer resistant.
Arrowwood Viburnum bears clusters of creamy white flowers in late spring. Blueberry-like fruits follow flowers during the summer. This plant is quite resistant to deer.
What is eating my crepe myrtle?
Crepe myrtle pests play a significant role in damaging the tree. Aphids, one of the most common crepe myrtle pests, can be seen on the leaves and branches of the tree.
These can be washed off with a high-pressure water flow and can be rid of by using environmentally safe pesticides or insecticides. Another one of the pests is sooty mold. They do not directly harm the plant and will go away if aphids are removed from the tree.
Spider mites will also cause sizeable damage. They leave webbing behind and suck the sap from the tree vessels. They cannot be seen without magnification and, using proper insecticides and pesticides, can be removed from the tree.
Scale insects, however, do not look like insects at all. They are similar to aphids but have a strong barrier outside their body. Using a knife, for example, the scale insects’ shield can be lifted, exposing the soft bodies inside, and using insecticides or neem oil will get rid of these.
Also, Japanese beetles are worth mentioning. These bugs eat the tree and, the larvae they produce are complete pests and will damage the tree. Enough larvae can damage the whole tree causing the tree to lose life.
No trees or plants are deer-proof but, since deer do not frequently damage or eat crepe myrtles, they are considered deer resistant. Similar trees exist, which can be planted where the deer population is high or deer visits frequently. And, a little effort can help crepe myrtles thrive.