Do Deer Eat Asparagus? [& 5 Ways to Keep Them Out of the Garden]

do deer eat asparagus

Asparagus is such a cool vegetable to grow in the garden, but it takes time to grow and can be a little tricky.

Because it takes so much patience, having a deer come through your yard and nibble off most of your shoots would be really frustrating.

So the question becomes, is this even a possibility?

Do Deer Eat Asparagus?

While asparagus is often listed as a deer resistant vegetable, this is not entirely true.

Deer eat asparagus occasionally – and they love new shoots of asparagus, but will generally avoid mature asparagus plants.

Generally is the key word here – as a really hungry deer who comes across a bed of asparagus is probably going to eat at least some.

Because it’s a definite possibility, you might want to protect your asparagus patch from deer.

What Other Animals Eat Asparagus?

Squirrels, rabbits, and groundhogs will eat an asparagus plant.

Squirrels

Generally, squirrels leave asparagus alone, but they will eat it and it actually is a very vitamin-rich food for them. While some gardeners might tell you they’ve never had an issue with animals eating their asparagus, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

Rabbits

Rabbits are said to avoid asparagus in favor of other plants like clover. However, if you have a hungry bunny colony in your yard, I doubt they’re going to say no to it as it is nutritious for them as well.

Chickens

If you have chickens running around your farm and garden, you’re probably going to have a few issues. Chickens love asparagus!

How to Tell If A Deer is Eating Your Asparagus

There are a few main ways to tell if a deer is the one eating your asparagus shoots.

1. Footprints

Footprints are a great way to identify what is eating your asparagus plants. Deer have split hooves, so there are two sides to each hoof, as you can see below.

Pigs, sheep, and cattle also have split hooves, but deer hoofprints will be farther apart as they having longer legs.

deer hooveprints in mud

2. Deer Scat

Deer scat is pretty easy to spot. Their scat will likely be in a pile, vs a rabbits scat which is more scattered out – get it? SCATtered? Ha.

In all seriousness, deer usually poop while standing still, whereas rabbits are usually going as they roam around and move.

deer scat

3. Flattened Plants Nearby

Deer are HEAVY animals – often weighing as much as 160 lbs. That said, if they roam through your garden, you’re likely going to notice some crushed plants, or downed grass.

4. Whole Plants Are Eaten, Not Just Nibbled

Deer are animals that will eat the whole plant. Deer damage isn’t just a nibble here or there, they have large stomachs to fill, and will eat a whole head of cabbage, or most of the plant.

Especially with something small like asparagus spears, if they didn’t eat the whole thing, it’s probably a smaller animal doing the damage.

5 Ways to Keep Deer From Eating Asparagus

Deer hate loud noises, sudden movements, and will stay away if they think a predator animal is nearby.

1. Fencing

A deer fence can be challenging to properly put up. They need to be at least 8 feet tall to really keep all deer out as deer can jump very high.

While it can be complicated, deer fencing is probably the most effective option if done right because they literally can’t get into your asparagus plot.

2. Companion Planting

Another way to keep deer out the garden is by planting companion plants nearby. These are plants that deer don’t eat, or that even deter deer.

Some examples of asparagus companions that help keep deer away are:

  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Russian Sage
  • Horseradish

3. Motion Activated Sprinklers

A motion activated sprinkler can be a great way to deter many animals from your garden. It’s unexpected, loud, and they get sprayed with water – all three combinations of things most animals aren’t fans of.

These sprinklers can frighten deer enough to keep them away from your garden in the future.

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4. Deer Netting

Netting is a form of deer barriers that helps deter deer from your asparagus plants. It won’t harm deer but can be considered deer proof if set up properly.

deer netting

5. Wind Chimes

Wind chimes create enough unexpected noise to scare off deer and squirrels as well. Plus they can add a nice sound to your garden.

Deer and Asparagus

While asparagus is often considered one of the deer resistant vegetables, deer will eat young shoots. They’re not the only animal that will eat your plants either.

So the key here is to be prepared if you do find your asparagus and other vegetables are being bothered by unwanted pests.

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