Considering that deer seek out plants with succulent leaves and stems that will provide them with the moisture and protein that they need, there are better choices than asparagus for deer to eat.
However, just because asparagus might not be at the top of the list of what deer like to eat, this doesn’t mean that they won’t eat it. Given the chance, deer, including whitetail deer, will eat asparagus if they are hungry enough.
Do Deer Eat Asparagus Fern?
Asparagus ferns are closely related to edible asparagus (Asparagus officinalis). As deer prefer plants with succulent leaves and stems, asparagus ferns with their woody stems and tiny leaves have a high deer resistance rating and are very likely to be avoided. Asparagus ferns also have sharp thorns, which is another reason why deer are likely to avoid them.
If Asparagus is Deer Resistant Why Do They Still Eat It?
If you hear that a plant is deer resistant, you would understandably think that it would be avoided by deer. However, this isn’t always the case.
While annuals, perennials and shrubs that are stated to be deer resistant are less likely to suffer damage from deer searching for food, they aren’t completely guaranteed to be avoided. If a deer is hungry or thirsty enough, they will consume plants they normally wouldn’t eat to survive, like asparagus or rhubarb.
Due to the areas in which deer used to freely roam having been turned into neighborhoods and suburbs, along with predators like wolves and coyotes having been killed or driven out from urban areas, the deer population has increased. This means that there are now more deer on less grazing land that are hungrier than ever that will eat what they can to survive.
How Do You Protect Asparagus from Deer?
If you want to protect asparagus from deer you have a few options.
There are devices that use flashing lights or loud noises to frighten deer, but these aren’t necessarily a long term solution as deer quickly get used to the effects. The same can be said of deer spray wash which wear off over time.
A better, more permanent solution is to put up a tall, sturdy deer fence around your asparagus plot. It might not be the cheapest solution, but a physical barrier is the most effective option.