Are Japanese Maples Deer Resistant?

By Paul Smart •  Updated: 02/13/22 •  6 min read

Are Japanese Maples Deer Resistant? Japanese maples are among the most beautiful trees that you can put into the garden, they provide dappled shade and a high degree of elegance to any garden. However, if you live in an area where there is a large deer population obvious question is will dear eat Japanese maples?

Japanese maple trees are not particularly resistant to deer, however, they are also not their favorite food according to the New Jersey Agricultural Experimentation Station which rated them has been seldom severely damaged. The deer are known to leave the plant alone in winter and only visit in spring when there is new foliage present which means that the plant does need some protection from the animals.

There are several different ways to protect the plant from deer however as they are generally a very persistent pest most methods of protecting your plants are not 100% effective. The only exception to this is when the deer are excluded from your garden entirely which can be achieved by either protecting the plant individually or erecting a fence to keep them out of the whole garden.

To protect the plant individually it is necessary to put 3 or 4 stakes around the outside of the plant to allow some wire netting to be erected. The wire netting that is used needs to be sufficiently strong to prevent the deer from pushing on it and getting to the plant by sticking its nose through holes in the netting.

The other method that is commonly used to keep deer out is to erect a fence around your entire garden which is a relatively expensive prospect and in some cases this is impractical.

Additionally, any fence that is erected needs to be approximately 8ft tall to keep the deer out as academic studies have shown that the deer can jump at least 6 ft in the air. To read more about this click here.

Other Methods Of Keeping Deer Out Of Your Garden

Aside from erecting a fence or protecting the plants individually, there are other methods that can be used to keep the deer out but they are generally less effective but nonetheless will reduce the damage that occurs.

The first method is to ensure that you plant things that the deer do not like to eat at the outer part of your garden to reduce the chances of the deer entering in the first place. As a general rule deer, do not like to eat plants that are highly fragrant, toxic, or prickly in nature. However, it is advisable to double-check the rating of the plants on an individual basis as this is only a guide.

Plants such as large lavenders, rosemary, or fragrant herbs are all effective methods of discouraging deer from entering your garden as they have some repellency effects on the animals. In addition to planting fragrance plants, it is also advised to select those ones that are a little bit taller to reduce the visibility into your garden where there may be more attractive plants present.

Conversely, it is also a good idea to plant anything they do like to eat near your house as your day-to-day activities will limit their access to the garden somewhat.

Beyond these measures, there is also a range of products available which are designed to keep deer away, however, their effectiveness does vary significantly depending upon the nature of the repellent system being used. They can generally be divided up into two categories mechanical and chemical repellents. The chemical d repellents are generally more effective based on academic research.

Chemical Repellents

Chemical repellents can be divided up into three major types which are fear-inducing, pain-inducing, and repellent that affect the smell or taste of a plant. Of these types of repellents, fear-inducing ones are the most effective according to a range of academic studies which compared different types of commercially available products.

The fear-inducing repellents are usually made from things such as coyote urine, blood, and putrified eggs. Putrified egg is effective because it produces smells that are similar to those created by many common predators.

However, the studies also show that even the most effective deer repellents will only work for around 10 to 12 weeks before the deer starts to become acclimatized to the smell and resume their normal feeding habits. To read more about this click here

As such we generally recommend that you purchase at least two different deer repellents that can be alternated throughout the year to reduce the chances of the deer becoming accustomed to the scent.

The two products that we generally recommend are deer out and plantskydd because they are both fear-inducing repellents that are made from different types of ingredients which therefore have a different scent. To see the latest price click on the links to visit Amazon.

Mechanical Repellent

Mechanical repellents, like chemical repellents, come in a range of different types which can generally be categorized into motion-activated sprinkler systems, ultrasonic devices, and things such as predator eyes which are devices that mimic the appearance of predators’ eyes at night.

Of these devices is the most effective is the motion-activated sprinkler systems, which can be effective for short periods of time, however, like the chemical repellents deer can become a custom to them very quickly. As such we generally recommend that they are used sparingly as part of your pest management strategy. They are most effective if you move the position of the sprinklers regularly and also periodically turn them on and off to ensure that the deer do not become accustomed to their presence.

If you are considering purchasing a device the product we would recommend is the Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer motion-activated sprinkler because it has a 40-ft detection range and 120 degrees you which means I can cover a fairly large area. To see the latest price on Amazon click here.

The second type of device which is widely promoted by many companies is ultrasonic deterrence systems. However, independent research has shown that these devices are generally ineffective on a range of animals which include things like deer, rodents, and squirrels. 

As a result of these findings, we generally do not recommend that you purchase this type of product as there is significant evidence to suggest that these devices are not effective at all.

The third type of device is predator eyes, which has significantly less independent research associated with it than other devices discussed. As such I have had to rely on the feedback given by customers that have purchased this type of product. What I found is that the overwhelming response from customers was disappointment with the performance of these products.

 I hope you found this article useful if you have any questions or comments please leave them in the section below.

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Paul Smart