Skip to Content

Do Deer Eat Fig Trees? (Read This First!)

When it comes to flowering plants, deer can be considered omnivorous as they tend to eat all most species of flowering and fruit plants that are available within their reach.

Thereby, while growing fig trees in your garden, if you don’t know the edibility of fig trees to deer, naturally you may be concerned enough to learn if deer eat fig trees or not. 

Therefore, read through the segments ahead to learn the answer to your all common queries. 

Do Deer Eat Fig Trees?

Deer do eat fig trees if they are hungry and don’t seem to find any other palatable food sources to devour, especially if the fig trees are smaller and have young shoots as these fig trees are more accessible to deer. However, deer don’t tend to eat taller fig trees as they can’t reach that height. 

In general, deer tend to eat any edible fruit plant that they will come across, so it’s already making enough sense that deer also eat fig trees as well. 

Particularly, if the deer are very hungry and they are not finding any other edible plants around them, they for sure will eat fig trees.

And in this case, the smaller/younger fig trees with young leaves are on the top of the deer’s preference list because deer can reach the smaller trees more easily to eat leaves. The younger deer are more tend to eat fig trees as they attack any plant out of curiosity. 

But deer are less likely to eat and harm taller and larger fig trees because they can reach such high height to eat young shoots. 

However, there’s always an ongoing debate between the fig tree owners regarding the edibility of fig trees to deer. It has been claimed that deer don’t enjoy eating fig trees because the young shoots are waxy latex-filled and deer dislike them.

Therefore, fig trees are rarely eaten by deer. But in most cases, the senior was the opposite as deer have eaten fig trees/leaves whenever they found within their reach. 

Are Fig Trees Deer Resistant? 

Fig trees are most probably one of the most argued fruit plants that have been claimed to be deer-resistant plants according to statements from many fig tree owners.

It’s because the young shoots and stems release waxy, white latex sap when the figs are unripe and deer don’t like to munch on leaves or shoots with waxy, latex sap. Even the unripe figs release latex sap. As a result, many claimed that deer are very unlikely to eat a fig tree. 

However, the scenario in reality is different. It’s because the majority of fig tree owners have claimed that their fig trees are seen to be left with no leaves at all as deer have eaten the trees, especially the smaller trees with young leaves. 

So, fig trees are not completely deer-resistant trees because most of the times deer are seen to eat young and small fig trees or destroy them. 

Do Deer Like Figs?

Generally, to say, deer don’t seem to enjoy munching on fig fruits as much as other fruits because fig fruits contain white latex sap along with shoots and stem that deer don’t like to taste while eating fruits.

Particularly, the unripe or green figs produce a great amount of waxy, latex sap while tearing the fig fruit from the tree, and deer are very less likely to take a bite of these unripe or nearly ripe figs. 

But the ripe figs contain/release less latex sap when separating from the trees than the unripe ones. So if deer are very hungry, or there is a shortage of foods, or there are curious young deer, they can like and munch on ripe figs if they can reach them.

Also, if you set figs out in a spot where deer often roam and train them to munch on fig fruits, deer can start liking figs as well.  

Will Deer Eat Fig Tree Leaves?

As long as the fig tree leaves are young and deer can reach them easily to munch on, deer will eat fig tree leaves like any other tree leaves. 

Regardless of any tree leaves, deer are fond of eating young leaves as young leaves are tastier to munch on.

Therefore, if deer can manage to find any new plantings of fig trees, they undoubtedly eat the leaves of that tree because smaller new plantings have younger leaves, mainly when they are super hungry.

However, the leaves of the bigger and grown-up fig trees are less attractive to deer, so they barely will eat those leaves. 

Moreover, fig leaves contain waxy, white, latex sap which deer dislikes. And for this reason, many deer don’t prefer to eat fig tree leaves at all. 

How Do You Keep Deer From Eating Your Fig Tree?

Being herbivorous animals, deer cannot avoid munching on your fig trees and create wreaking havoc by turning your garden upside down unless they are deterred. 

To assist you in keeping deer away from eating your fig trees, here a few effective methods are explained that you need to know. 

Fence: 

Fencing is the most effective and reliable deterrent to make your fig trees deer-proof. You can install regular 8 feet woven wire barriers.

Also, you must make sure that the woven wire fences are installed at least 2-3 feet under the ground so that deer cannot squirm underneath the fences to ear fig trees. 

You can also install electric fences as an alternative option as electric fences are known to keep deer 2-3 feet away from trees. And if you install electric fences, remember to retain a 6-8 feet mowed swath alongside the edges to deter deer to jump. 

Tenax 2A120056 Economy Deer Control Fence, 8'x330', Black

Deer Repellents: 

Commercial deer repellent is an easier yet effective way of keeping deer away from eating your fig trees as they smell or taste disgusting that the deer don’t come near the fig trees.

If your bought repellents have a taste of rotten eggs, hot pepper, and thiram, apply these repellents when the weather is overhead freezing and is a dry day. 

And if the deer repellents have denatonium saccharide, apply these repellents when the fig trees are in a phase of dormant. 

You can also use repellent containing wolf urine because the scent of wolf urine works so good in deterring deer. Essential oils are also a good alternative. 

However, no matter what repellent you use, apply it 6 feet above the ground 

Deer Repellent - Bobbex | Ready-To-Use Deer Deterrent Spray (32 oz.) B550110, original version

Deer Repellent Plants: 

Around the fig trees of yours, you can plant deer repellent plants such as marigolds, mint, Tansy (flowering plant), garlic, thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, and Lavender. Deer absolutely hate the scent of these plants and don’t come near. 

Motion Sensor Detectors: 

Motion detectors work amazing in keeping away deer from your fig trees and garden.

Install a motion detector that is paired up with another water sprinkler device that will sprinkle water on deer as soon as the motion detector will detect the movement of deer around the trees or in your garden. 

AMERFIST Solar Animal Repeller, 2021 Ultrasonic Mole Repellent, Rat, Squirrel, Deer, Raccoon, Skunk, Rabbit, Mole, Dog, Cat, Waterproof with Motion Detector, USB Rechargeable, Flashing Light (Green)

Loud Noise: 

You can use a horn or any other source to make a loud noise whenever deer are near your fig trees, as loud noises frighten deer and keep them away from the garden. 

What Fruit Trees Deer Will Not Eat? 

Although deer are herbivores, they don’t munch on all fruit trees. Below the tree names and why deer don’t eat them are explained shortly. 

Fig: 

Although deer are seen to eat fig trees, they also don’t eat fig trees because the fig leaves, stems, and fruits contain waxy textured, white, latex sap that deer dislike to taste. 

Pawpaw: 

Pawpaw trees are deer-resistant too. Deer find pawpaw trees distasteful because the bark as well as the foliage of pawpaw trees’ contain acetogenins, therefore, the bark and foliage taste very unpleasant to deer, so they don’t eat them. 

Persimmons: 

Persimmon is another argued tree because sometimes deer are seen to munch on them when the persimmon fruit is ripe or they are hungry. Again, deer are not seen to eat them when persimmon fruits are unripe.

Ginkgo Biloba:

Ginkgo Biloba is also a highly deer-resistant tree even though the leaves and nuts are edible. For some reason, deer tend to avoid Ginkgo Biloba trees and skip out the healthful advantages. 

Sugar Maple: 

Often deer are not likely to eat sugar maple trees as well. They rather like the shadow of these trees than eat the tree down to the ground, so they avoid it.

What Animals Eat Fig Trees?

Here is a short list of animals that eat fig trees. 

  • Deer (Sometimes)
  • Squirrel 
  • Monkey
  • Bat
  • Agouti 
  • Capybara (Eats the fruit mainly)

Final Thoughts 

Deer don’t find the waxy latex sap of fig trees palatable, so often they tend to avoid eating the fig stems, leaves, and fruits, especially if the fruits are unripe. But if there’s a scarcity of food sources or deer are hungry, they surely will munch on smaller fig trees.