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Are Green Velvet Boxwoods Deer Resistant?

Are Green Velvet Boxwoods Deer Resistant?

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Deer can be majestic and even enjoyable to watch as they stroll through your yard. However, they can wreak havoc on many ornamental plant species and other garden plants. But do deer enjoy the taste of Green Velvet boxwoods?

Green velvet boxwoods are not entirely deer resistant. Deer won’t typically indulge in this shrub due to the level of toxic alkaloids, but you should still protect them during colder months when food is scarce. When deer are hungry enough, many deer-resistant plants can become appealing to them.

So, how can you help keep your beautiful boxwoods safe? This article will discuss protecting your green velvet boxwoods from deer and what would cause the deer to eat these slightly toxic shrubs.

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How To Protect Green Velvet Boxwoods From Deer

Green velvet boxwoods are evergreen shrubs, meaning they stay green year-round. And for the most part, they are typically deer resistant due to the moderate level of alkaloids. However, when deer get hungry due to limited food sources, any deer-resistant plant may be added to their menu (source). 

As the cooler months roll around and food becomes scarce, you may be surprised when your deer-resistant shrubs start sporting noticeable bare patches from hungry and curious deer. 

Fortunately, there are methods you can utilize to deter deer from destroying your shrubs during the cooler months, including the following: 

  • Pruning
  • Netting
  • Spray deterrents
  • Scare devices

Let’s have a look at each method more closely.

Spring (or Fall) Pruning

Pruning promotes healthy, lush growth for your green velvet boxwoods and releases a distinctive smell that is unappealing to deer and rabbits. The best time to prune this shrub is during spring, but it can be done in the fall if frost isn’t in the forecast (source).

This is when deer are more likely to take a nibble because there is limited healthy vegetation for them to consume.

Barricade Your Shrubs With Netting

This is a simple and easy solution to keep deer off your shrubs and other garden plants. Netting comes in different sizes and materials, so ensure the netting you purchase is durable to withstand intrigued deer moseying about in your yard.

Keep an eye out for rabbits, too, because they are known to eat through and destroy the netting, which can be counterproductive in keeping the deer out.

The Feitore Deer Fence Netting (link to Amazon) is an excellent product for protecting your green velvet boxwoods. The netting material is lightweight yet won’t easily tear. It is sized at 7 ft x 100 ft (2.1 m x 30 m), and comes with installation nails and cable ties to secure it around your shrubs.

Use Spray Deterrents

There are many spray deterrents on the market with either natural or chemical ingredients. Deer don’t like the strong smell of essential oils like peppermint and rosemary.

You can easily find products that include these ingredients and not have to worry about harming your plants, kids, or pets. Chemical products can be highly effective at deterring deer, but you should take caution to ensure the product doesn’t harm your plants, humans, and pets.

Use Ultrasonic Devices To Help Keep Deer Away

You can also purchase ultrasonic deterrents to get rid of the issue of deer eating your green velvet boxwoods. These devices send out ultrasonic waves that scare deer away from the vicinity.

Most also charge using solar energy and contain motion detectors with strong red lights to resemble predator eyes, helping to scare the deer away.

This Pignar Ultrasonic Waterproof Solar Repellent (link to Amazon) is an ultrasonic device for keeping deer away from your green velvet boxwoods. It’s a waterproof device that can be staked in your yard and works on more critters than just deer.

The device is solar-powered, offers motion detection, and is highly rated by several thousand verified customers. 

Natural Ways To Keep Deer Off of Green Velvet Boxwoods

Aside from pruning, there are other natural ways to ensure deer don’t come close to your green velvet boxwoods. They include the following:

Plant Deer Deterring Plants

There are many plants that work exceptionally well in keeping deer away. And they can also add curb appeal along with your green velvet boxwoods. Below are some of the beneficial plants that help keep deer away: 

  • Marigolds
  • Bleeding heart
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Catnip
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Yarrow

You’ll notice that many of them are herbs, and some, such as rosemary and English lavender, can withstand cold weather conditions during winter months, depending on your zone.

When incorporated in landscaping around your green velvet boxwoods, these herbs provide an attractive appeal and strong scents known to repel deer, along with other critters (source).

See our guide to Herbs That Grow Well Together.

Use Essential Oils Around Your Shrubs

Essential oils can be a powerful tool for protecting your green velvet boxwoods. You can add a few drops of oils like peppermint, lavender, and citronella to a spray bottle, fill it with warm water, and give your shrubs a good spritz.

The downfall to this method is you would have to reapply often to ensure the scent remains strong enough to keep the deer away.

Why Deer Eat Green Velvet Boxwoods If They’re Toxic

It gets tough trying to find food during cooler months. Grass and other vegetation either die off or don’t grow and become dormant.

Typically, deer know what to eat and what not to eat, but if they’re hungry enough, they may ignore their instincts and munch on your green velvet boxwoods that still look green and lush during winter.

The Toxicity of Boxwoods on Deer

Many plant species have some sort of defense mechanism to prevent them from being disturbed or eaten by animals and humans. Boxwoods are among these plant species.

Most boxwoods, including green velvet, produce Cyclobuxine, a naturally occurring alkaline mainly found in the shrub’s leaves (source).

It’s mildly toxic to humans but can be highly toxic to deer and other animals. If deer consume enough of the leaves, the alkaloids can cause toxicity in their central nervous system. 

Conclusion

Deer typically resist eating away at green velvet boxwoods due to their moderate toxicity. However, deer become limited in food sources when the cooler weather begins to sweep through. During this time, you may notice some nibbling on your green velvet boxwoods, so they aren’t entirely deer resistant.

The best way to protect your precious green velvet boxwoods is to utilize commonly used methods, such as fall and spring pruning, netting, and spray deterrents. You can also invest in more deer-resistant plants in front of or around your shrubs to add more protection.

You can purchase Green Velvet Boxwoods online and have them delivered right to your front door (link to Nature Hills Nursery).

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Willie Moore
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