whitetail deer eating a tomato

Do Deer Like To Eat Tomatoes?


whitetail deer eating a tomato

Imagine you've spent countless hours tending to your garden, nurturing your precious tomato plants from seeds to fully-grown fruit-bearing beauties. You're looking forward to your plump, ripe, juicy tomatoes in anticipation of fresh salads, homemade salsas, and tangy pasta sauces. One morning, when you check on your pride and joy, you find that some of your perfectly ripened tomatoes have mysteriously vanished. Suddenly, you wonder - could deer have been feasting on your tomatoes?

Yes, Deer Do Like To Eat Tomato Plants

The answer is a resounding yes! Deer find tomato plants quite appetizing, making them a popular target in both urban and rural gardens. According to the Extension Office of Oregon State University, deer are known to eat over 500 different types of plants, many of which can be found in a vegetable garden. So, if you're growing tomatoes and want to keep deer at bay, it's essential to take measures such as fencing, repellent sprays, or planting deer-resistant plants around your precious tomatoes.

Why Do Deer Like Tomatoes So Much?

Tomato plants are known to attract deer, primarily due to their delicious flavor and tender leaves. The brightly colored fruits and sweet aroma are irresistibly appealing to these animals, making them a favored choice among other garden plants. Additionally, tomato plants are relatively easy for deer to access as they are often grown in open spaces, unlike many other vegetable crops. Do you think a deer would rather spend time digging up and eating a carrot or lazily eating a ripe tomato that is much easier to access.   As a result, it is essential for gardeners to take preventative measures to protect their tomato plants from being devoured by these persistent, tomato-loving creatures.

Types of Plants That Deter Deer From Eating Tomato Plants

There are several types of plants that can help deter deer from feasting on your tomato plants. These deer-resistant plants can be an effective way to protect your precious tomatoes. Some examples include plants with fuzzy or hairy leaves, such as heliotrope, tuberous begonia, and poppies, which are less appealing to deer due to their texture. In addition, aromatic herbs like sage, thyme, lavender, oregano, and rosemary can repel deer with their strong fragrances. Incorporating these plants as companions for your tomatoes can create a natural barrier and help keep deer at bay.

How To Keep Deer Away From Your Plants

Fencing is a highly effective method to keep deer away from tomato plants. There are several types of fences that can be used to deter deer from entering your garden. One option is an electric fence, which delivers a mild shock to the deer, discouraging them from foraging in the area. Another option is a high fence made of heavy gauge wire or chain links, which should be at least 8 feet tall to prevent deer from jumping over. A properly installed fence can ensure the safety of your tomato plants from curious deer.

Using Deer Repellents To Protect Your Tomatoes

There a few different types of deer repellents which include, liquids or sprays, granules, and other scent emitting devices.  Deer repellent spray is an effective method to keep deer away from your tomato plants. Deer are notorious for their love for tomatoes and will often devour the plants, leaving you with nothing to show for your hard work. Using a deer repellent spray will ensure that they stay away from your tomato plants.

Spray Repellents

Sprays are the most common and convenient deer repellent that is available. They are easy to apply and can be used on a wide variety of types of plants, just make sure the one you choose is made to be used on vegetables or fruit. The spray works by emitting a scent that is unappealing to deer. This scent is usually a combination of natural ingredients, such as garlic, peppers or eggs.

To use the deer repellent spray, you simply need to apply it to the leaves, stems and fruit of your tomato plants. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for the best results. It is recommended that you apply the spray once a week to ensure that deer do not return to your garden.

Granule Repellents

The deer repellent granules can be used to create a perimeter around the plants you would like to protect.  

Other Repellent Devices

One alternative to liquids or sprays is a device that is on a small stake, which emits scent when the wind blows.  These are designed to last a longer period of time, but from the reviews I have read, they don't seem to work as well.  One example of these are the Deer Off deer repellent stations made by Safer.  

The last type of device would be a stake in the ground that has solar power and emits ultrasonic frequencies that repel deer and other animals.  The models that are designed for deer are usually activated using a motion sensor and can work well when set up properly.  

In conclusion, using a deer repellent spray is a simple and effective way to keep deer away from your tomato plants. By taking these precautions, you can enjoy a bountiful tomato harvest without the interference of these pesky creatures.

This article was updated on May 21, 2023