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Do Deer Eat Mock Orange? (Must Read!)

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Mock orange is a replica of oranges that refer to so many things that either smell like orange or show their characteristics even though they are not oranges in any way. However, if you’re concerning the deer feeding on your mock orange then I assume you’re talking about a beautiful shrub, a philadelphus that smells like heaven and is also sometimes referred to as ‘English Dogwood’.

If you’re on that page then let’s know whether the beautiful scent of it attracts deer and makes them eat mock oranges or not.

Do deer eat mock oranges?

Can deer harm your mock oranges by eating them?

There are over 60 species of mock oranges, I am pretty sure some of them will be toxic but as per my research they are not grown in the individual gardens. However, 4 to 5 species of mock oranges are native to the United States, 3 most commonly grown in the United States are Lewis mock orange, little leaf mock orange, and Philadelphus coronarius.

Lewis mock orange and little leaf mock orange are proved to be good browses and edible for deer to eat (as referred in USDA Forest Service 1937 & Patton and Ertl 1982). I can also conclude that Philadelphus coronarius is safe to eat by deer because it also posses the same characteristics as shown in the other two native mock orange species.

Deer would love to eat this type of philadelphus because of being rich in some nutrients and water content. That is the reason enough why deer would eat the bush, leaves, and flower of the shrub known as mock orange.

Do mock oranges attracts deer?

Yes, mock orange undoubtedly attracts deer, though not sure that all 60+ species do that but the three that are mentioned in this article will act as a magnet for deer.

Although, they may not eat these shrubs all the time as it depends on other forage choices and their hunger. Deer would sit under the bushes of mock oranges due to 2 reasons:

  1. It grows up to 14 feet high and bushes are well spread in width that will accommodate enough shade for deer to sit or sleep.
  2. The smell; no one can resist it including deer as it has the scent of orange and deer may come to it thinking that it may be an orange tree but will realize it may be better treated as shade and nice watery treat.

FYI, deer noses are many times stronger than that of humans and 1.5 times that of dogs’.

How to protect my mock orange shrubs from deer?

First of all, if an edible shrub is growing naturally in the wild area and you do know that it is a deer zone then please don’t follow these tips because we have destroyed much of vegetation and animals need shade in the hot summer; mock orange is one of that option.

But if you’re concerned about deer attacks in your garden, park, or farm that will tend to damage the Philadelphus oranges then you can try these tips.

Please consult the state law as the permits may be required for some or all of these steps and may be prohibited in your area.


Fences should surround all the mock orange planting areas and must be specifically designed to prevent the entry of the deer. Like taller than 8 inches.

Here is the list of fences that you can install depending on the deer attacks and cost-affordability.

  • 8-10 feet tall high tensile fence, plastic mesh fence, a metal weaved or net fence, vertical electrical fence.
  • Double fences,
  • Electric tape and peanut butter fences may be effective in certain conditions.
  • Buried electronic fence with radio-collared herding dogs.

Fence for each almond tree

Instead of fencing the whole planting area, you can install tree shelters, round mesh fences, wire mesh, etc, to cover the specific almond tree that you want to protect.


There are many deer repellent plants, scents, and trees that would help keep the deer away mainly because either these plants have a strong aroma that is categorized under offensive scent. Such plants are yarrow, tansy, artemisia, ranunculus, etc. You can grow these plants near mock oranges shrubs to resist the deer, though make sure that none of the resistive plants stop the growth of your plant.

Population Control

I am against hunting any animal that is not offensive and destructive. But it becomes highly needed when deer become offensive in nature and either start destroying the farmer’s livelihood or become mad and there is no other choice left than hunting.

If you think that your area has a high population of deer that is destroying your almond or any other field then consult with the local governments about your issue and hunting permit and they would tell you which deer to hunt and which to not as for some people hunting is a cruel fun than a need-for-situation.

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