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Deer vs. Yarrow: Who Will Win in Your Garden?

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Yarrow, also known as Achillea millefolium or Milfoil, is a traditional herb native to Asia, Europe, and North America, though now it could grow wildly. You may already know that Yarrow is toxic to cats, dogs, and horses due to achilleine and alkaloid toxins. Does this also mean that it is harmful to deer, and they won’t destroy your beautiful Yarrow plants? Let’s take a look.

Do Deer Eat or Ignore Yarrow Plants & Flowers?

Deer don’t eat Yarrow because of the aromatic scent, bitter taste, and ferny leaves is what makes this plant unattractive to deer, and that is the main reason why Yarrow falls under the category of deer-resistant plant that you could plant around your garden or farm and make use it as a resisting deer fence that would keep the deer away.

A deer staring at you
A deer staring at you

Now one thing you should beware of is that Yarrow is a perennial plant that lives year after year, but it takes time for them to mature; you should expect flowers in the second year of planting, and during this time, you must take care of them because in deer may not eat them. Still, they will walk over them to eat out your farm.

If you already have a full-blown department of yarrow plants, then chill, as deer won’t eat them unless the place you live in is scarce of forages, as in such cases, they have to cross the likes and dislikes of their tongue.

Still, they will think a lot before eating it because Yarrow is a herb, not a meal that could be just eaten without any effect, so in utmost rare cases, they will only munch a few leaves and go away searching for better-tasting plants.

Related: Do Deer Eat Carrots?

Are All Types Of Yarrow Deer Resistant?

There are many species of yarrow plants; It is estimated that between 85 and 100 species of Yarrow belong to the genus Achillea. The 13 are best and can be grown even in barren land as they fall under the hardy perennials. Honestly, it is impossible to give you a brief about all 100 species of Yarrow and whether they are deer resistant or not, as it would require extensive research – planting all species in the deer zone and noticing activity is hard work. Such research is still yet to be done by scientists/researchers.

However, the widespread yarrow plant that is widely grown is Achillea millefolium, and you can trust me on this. That is deer resistant, along with 13 other types I am now sharing with you. Some are not as intense as Achillea millefolium but are less popular among deer and can be grown in various soil, including poor and dry.

  • Apple Blossom
  • Cerise Queen
  • Common
  • Gold
  • Gold Plate
  • King Edward
  • Moonshine
  • New Vintage
  • Rose Paprika
  • Red Strawberry
  • Seduction
  • Summer
  • Pastels
  • Sunny Seduction

Can You Use Yarrow As a Fencing For Deer?

Yarrow plants, along with other beautiful plants

Interesting question, my boy/girl! See, the chances of success using Yarrow as fencing is 50-50 because even though it has that pungent smell and taste that deer do not like, as experimented by thousands of people, this plant is not thorny or vital like a fence; the plant is known to be soft and safe to touch so in my opinion to increase your chances of deer not bypassing the yarrow fencing is to increase their density surrounding your garden, make it more like a yarrow mesh that a fence. Dense to the point that deer won’t be able to see what’s planted behind these deer-hated plants.

And you can do the same on your farm. However, if you have planted some crops or plants whose scent can reach deer and deer is struggling to find other forages to churn, then there’s a remote chance that a group of deer would penetrate Yarrow and attract that which you’re trying to protect.

How To Protect Yarrow Plants?

There’s no need to protect yarrow plants if you already live in suitable natural habitat, as there would be more than enough forage, like grass, beans, apples, bananas, etc., for deer to satisfy their nutritional needs. You can only consider protecting your Yarrow plants when food is scarce or not readily available (like in winter). In such a case, here are some tips on how to protect your yarrow plants.

  1. Put up a Barrier: A fence or mesh netting can keep curious deer away from your yarrow plants. Ensure the barrier is tall enough and secure so that deer can’t jump over it.
  2. Plant in Clusters: Planting yarrow in groups rather than single plants can be less appealing to deer. Plus, this creates a visual barrier, making it harder for deer to get close to your plants.
  3. Spray it Up: If you’re looking for a quick and easy solution, try using a deer-repellent spray. There are many natural and synthetic options available. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and spray the yarrow plants.
  4. Choose the Right Plant: Some yarrow species are less likely to be nibbled by deer. Consider planting cultivars like ‘Moonshine’ or ‘Strawberry Seduction’ that have a reputation for being deer-resistant.
  5. Pick a Safe Spot: Plant yarrow in areas less likely to attract deer, such as near bushes, trees, or a building.
  6. Trick the Deer: Try using decoys like plastic owls or rubber snakes to scare off deer. They are often frightened by these predator decoys and will steer clear of your yarrow plants.

Using these strategies, you can keep your yarrow plants safe from curious deer. Of course, no method is foolproof, but by taking these steps, you can significantly reduce the risk of deer damage.

Facts About Yarrow Plants:

  1. Scientific Name: Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a flowering plant species in the aster family (Asteraceae).
  2. Native Range: Yarrow is native to the Northern Hemisphere and is commonly found in Europe, Asia, and North America.
  3. Medicinal Properties: Yarrow has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, dating back to ancient times. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and astringent properties and has been used to treat various ailments, including wounds, colds, flu, and digestive issues.
  4. Folklore: In ancient times, Yarrow was known as an “herbal military clinic” and was used by soldiers to treat wounds. The plant was also considered a symbol of courage and was used in divination practices.
  5. Appearance: Yarrow plants grow to a height of 1-3 feet, producing feathery leaves and clusters of tiny white, yellow, pink, or red flowers that bloom in the summer.
  6. Soil Requirements: Yarrow plants prefer well-drained soil with a neutral pH and can tolerate various soil types, including sand, clay, and loam.
  7. Climate Tolerance: Yarrow is a hardy plant that can tolerate various temperatures and growing conditions, from full sun to partial shade and from hot to cold climates.
  8. Wildlife Attraction: Yarrow plants are an excellent source of nectar for pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and moths, making them an essential part of the ecosystem.
  9. Culinary Uses: Yarrow leaves and flowers can be used in various culinary dishes, including soups, salads, and tea blends. They have a slightly bitter taste and are used for their medicinal properties and flavor.
  10. Ornamental Use: Yarrow plants are often used in gardens due to their attractive flowers and foliage and their ability to attract pollinators and beneficial insects.

Related: Do Deer Eat Sorghum?

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