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Do Deer Eat Asters? (All You Need to Know)

You might have heard how asters are deer resistant. However, If you are worried that deer might eat all your aster plants, we wouldn’t say you are worrying wrong. So let’s find out if deer  really eat aster or not.

Do deer eat asters?

Despite being considered deer resistant, deer do eat asters when food sources are scarce, particularly before winter arrives. Deer would eat aster plants that have smooth and fuzzy leaves or stems that are thick but succulent. Asters are safe to eat for deer and provide great nutrients.

As you may have heard, asters are deer resistant. This holds for certain asters which can, in fact, be planted in the open even without deterrents, simply because deer would not eat them. 

Stokes aster:

Stoke asters are considered to be deer resistant, thanks to the texture of the flowers and structure of the stems. Although smooth, the plant is rather firm in texture and hence difficult for deer to eat. 

Purple asters:

The perennial purple asters can be eaten by deer but they are not the favorite due to their hard texture. 

Fall asters:

Fall asters are quite often eaten by deer because of the scarcity of food. With winter approaching, there is not much for deer to fill in their nutritional values and asters are a great option. 

Not only do asters provide the necessary food value, but the plant also provides antioxidants to keep deer warm. 

New England aster:

One of the types of asters that deer are quite fond of and would much prefer at their heart’s content are New England Asters. 

Much to a deer’s liking, the New England asters have succulent stems. 

The stems are also thick for the deer to chew on. Not only that, the plant itself and the seeds are parts that the deer would eat if they come near one. 

Deer would eat the whole New England aster plant, although asters are not their favorite plant meal if there are other options.

Do deer like asters? 

Deer do not like asters but eat them because they see the plant as a source of food. Deer are fond of plants that are easier to chew on. 

The stems must be succulent and thick for the deer to like a plant. This is the reason why New England asters are more often eaten by deer although other asters like stokes aster are quite deer resistant. The latter is firm and does not attract deer. 

Deer mostly eat asters when there is no other food source. The animal also understands the nutritional and filling value of a food source, and asters provide both. 

Deer are mostly fond of plants like orchard grass and red clover. They would also corn, peas, or even soybean plants. Nuts or other plants that are rich in nutrients are a deer’s favorite meal spot.

Do deer eat all parts of asters? 

When a deer is making its move on to eating an aster plant, it would not eat all the parts of the plant. Rather a deer is more attracted to certain parts. 

Aster plants:

In general, the entire foliage of an aster plant interests a deer and they would browse over it for some time before trying to eat apart. Mostly, you might see a deer go for the stems first. If the stem of the aster is succulent, they would continue to eat the stems. 

As for the leaves, deer go for leaves that are broad and fuzzy. New England asters have fuzzy leaves and thick stems, both of which are liked by deer. 

Aster flowers:

Aster flowers are bright and vivid, and a deer may nibble on the flowers. However, deer do not eat aster flowers and would rather eat plants with a smoother texture.

3 reasons why deer eat asters 

There are several reasons why deer eat asters. Here is a list of possibilities why you might want to protect your aster plants from deer: 

Food scarcity:

When the summertime is leaving and there is little to eat for the deer, they would turn to feast on anything that gives them the means to survive. And what better source than blooming asters. 

One of the main reasons why deer might feed on asters is because they cannot find anything else to eat. 

Not only that, but asters also provide them with the nutritional value that deer would require to grind through the chilly winter days. 

Packed with nutrition:

Asters are rich in the most important nutrients one can think of. 

A deer consuming asters in the early winter months would sustain better in the cold times because of the dietary fiber, and antioxidants in asters. The antioxidants keep their body warm during cold months. 

Other than that, asters also provide vitamin c, potassium, and magnesium, all of which are needed for the well-being of a deer. 

Deer also recognize the fact that the amount of fiber provided by aster plants improves their digestive system. 

Asters are safe:

Before anything else, a deer’s instinct is to find out whether a plant is edible or not. 

If it is not poisonous and does not harm a deer in any way, a deer’s second instinct is to make a meal out of it. Because it is safe to eat, despite it having an undesirable texture, deer continue to eat asters. 

Are aster deer resistant?

You might be surprised to know that generally, aster is one of the plants that are considered to be deer resistant. However, you may want to note that this does not stop deer from eating aster plants when the time comes. 

Aster plants that have stems that are first and leaves that are uneven and hard to chew on may be more deer-resistant than others like New England asters. 

Since asters are safe plants and do not poison a deer, a deer would want to eat an aster plant, particularly during the late fall times when food is scarcer. 

Moreover, aster plants might not be a deer’s first choice of the meal but they sure provide the best nutrient. 

How to stop deer from eating asters? 

If you have a garden of asters planted and one or a herd of deer roaming around to eye the beautiful asters, you would want to protect your precious flowers. 

There are several ways to stop deer from eating asters and here are ways to do it: 

Fence:

A fence around your plants and flowers is always one of the most reliable ways to protect your plants from deer and other intruders. 

However, you would have to make sure that the fence you are building around is tall enough, preferably 6 feet or higher. 

Natural deterrents:

Building a fence is not always feasible for many. Instead, you may want to use natural deterrents that would drive the deer away. One way is to spray solutions that give off citrus smell or minty scents. 

Noise:

Deers are not the bravest of animals and if they sense human presence they would not come near the asters. 

For that, you would hand a chime or other objects that would constantly make low noise. 

This would signal the deer that there may be humans around the plant, keeping them miles away. 

Repellent trees:

To keep deer away for good, you would plant flowers around the aster that deer are not fond of. Lily of the valley and lavender are two of the flowering plants that keep deer at bay. 

Using garlic plants can also help since the smell is quite strong and can be detected from a good distance. 

Take stronger means:

If there are too many deer threatening your asters, you may want to try stronger means like electric fencing, mothballs, or even sprinklers.

What animals eat aster plants? 

When it comes to ranking bunny food, aster plants might just top the list. Despite having a texture that rabbits do not like much, rabbits munch on aster plants all the time. 

They are particularly fond of aster flowers and could devour every budding flower in your garden.

Some turkey and birds will hover through the foliage of an aster plant and eat every part of the plant or at least attempt to do so. 

Other than that, upland game birds also like to eat aster plants. Pests are attracted to aster plants and would nibble on the leaves and flowers of the plant. 

Here is a list of animals that eat aster plants. 

  • Rabbits:  
  • Wild Turkey: 
  • Insects, 
  • caterpillars and 
  • butterflies 

Final Thoughts 

Deer eat asters when they like the texture and firmness of the plant. They particularly eat asters because the plant is full of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is important to note that deer do not eat all asters. While they are fond of some, they would completely ignore others.