Landscaping in the Colorado Springs area can be quite fun, and yet it can also prove quite challenging. Colorado Springs has a distinct environment that combines the majestic mountains of Eastern Colorado with the dry and windy plains. That combination gives the landscape around Colorado Springs a unique feel and look that you don’t find in any other corner of the state.
With people living together with wildlife, it’s not uncommon to see deer hanging out in communities all around the city. Kids might marvel at this, but a novice landscaper might find this to be quite a nuisance, as the deer seem to eat just about anything that grows.
Deer Resistant Landscaping?
When doing landscaping in Colorado Springs, it’s crucial to know what various kinds of perennials and shrubs are available to you to both make your yard lovely but also keep deer from chewing up what you plant. Keep in mind that most of the plants mentioned in this content are typically deer resistant, but serious drought conditions can make deer hungry enough to eat practically any plant.
Deer weren’t really seen as a major issue until around a decade ago when their numbers shot up in the area. The deer started munching their way through lawns and gardens, and even becoming a road hazard in some corners of the city.
No Predators, So Deer Population Grows
It’s been a while since this area has had natural predators of deer, so deer now consider this area not only safe but comfortable, both in the suburbs and even a number of urban areas. With development continuing both west and east, the few predators are pushed out, meaning there is even more habitat favorable for the proliferation of deer.
As such, gardens around the city are under assault from deer every month of the year. Winter is when things are worst, as deer are hungry and the trees they like to eat foliage off don’t have anything available to them. This is when deer resistant landscaping really comes in handy.
We’ve actually seen entire hedgerows of rhododendron and yew stripped of their foliage in under a week. Springtime isn’t fun either since the deer voraciously eat everything and anything green that they see. We’ve seen deer do damage to new foliage on a variety of plants that are usually safe members of the deer-proof list.
Deer, just like people, have foods they prefer to eat over others, and they unfortunately include garden staples like tulips, hostas, daylilies, and roses. While you’re sleeping, they can strip your vegetable garden or even wreck a new fruit tree that isn’t protected by strong, tall fencing. So, if you’re not willing to fence or cage every one of your plants, it might be smart to make some different planting choices.
A lot of the plants we often plant we do so as ornamentals; however, they were once thought of medicinal plants, and they’re usually prime options for deer-resistant plantings. Some of them even have poisonous properties, whereas others are scented strongly or just have unpalatable leaves.
Deer-Safe Plants (Not Necessarily Deer Proof)
Most deer will generally avoid eating spiny, fuzzy, or coarse plants, particularly with robust aromas, especially lemony or minty ones. The following are potential choices that might save you the utter frustration of these cute pests dining on your garden.
- Bulbs: grape hyacinth, ornamental onions, snowdrops, daffodils.
- Annuals: larkspur, gaillardia, snapdragons, dusty miller, California poppers, sweet alyssum, lantana, and ageratum.
- Perennials and Biennials: achillea, monkshood, Russian sage, chrysanthemums, dianthus, delphiniums, foxglove, bleeding heart, rudbeckia echinacea, iris, penstemon, coreopsis, lavender, hellebore, and alliums.
- Groundcovers: periwinkle, berengia, lamium, snow-in-summer, sedums, St. John’s wort, and periwinkle.
- Vines: Boston ivy, trumpet vine, morning glory, wisteria, and clematis.
- Shrubs: Buddleia, American box, dogwood, forsythia, mock orange, rugosa roses, syringa, weigela, rhododendrons, mahonia, fragrant daphne, Ceanothus, and barberry.
Be mindful of the fact that all these plants aren’t deer-proof, just resistant.
New and small plantings are more likely to get sampled and even pulled from the ground as deer run taste experiments. Shrubs and trees sometimes get damaged until they mature enough to recover from occasional chewing.
Ignored plants from one region might be fine dining in a different one, and plants known to have been ignored for many years might be prime cuisine the coming season. Have patience in getting to know what tastes your local deer have, so you can plant accordingly.
When you plan ahead prior to doing Colorado Springs landscaping, you can spare yourself stress and avoid feeding the deer your valuable money and time with a few smart choices for deer resistant landscaping. Good luck, and enjoy your gardening.