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

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Deer love to graze on plants, seeds, seedlings, and sometimes, herbs too. It must be a matter of great worry to a gardener living in a deer dense area to protect his precious garden from deer. While deer love most of the plants, they dislike the aromatic ones. 

Deer have a strong sense of smell which is often the reason for their disliking the aromatic plants. For similar reasons, deer tend to avoid most herbs. One may wonder if they like rosemary or not.

Do deer eat rosemary?

Deer don’t usually eat rosemary. Rosemary is an incredibly aromatic herb. Deer, having a heightened sense of smell, don’t like aromatic herbs for their strong scent and taste. They tend to avoid plants and herbs that disturb their sense of smell like rosemary.

Walk through this section and figure out if deer can eat the following form of rosemary –

Rosemary bushes: 

Deer like to feed on plants and shrubs, but they don’t like dense plants since they are hard to consume. Rosemary is a woody plant and it has a dense growth. Moreover, deer dislike aromatic herbs like rosemary. 

A deer is most likely to avoid even going near rosemary bushes for the strong scent coming from them. 

Creeping rosemary:

Creeping rosemary is a low-growing shrub. It grows up to be 2 inches to 1 foot tall. It is a good option for covering up garden grounds. Since this too is an aromatic herb, deer are not likely to eat creeping rosemary. 

The pungent aroma and strong taste make it unappealing to them.

Rosemary plants:

Deer don’t eat rosemary plants. A rosemary plant carries the same intense scent that comes from the herb. Deer can get the smell from both the stem and the leaves. The pungent aroma coming from the plant confuses them as they don’t like strong scents. 

It can be a good idea to plant aromatic plants like rosemary around the edge of your garden. 

Do deer like to eat rosemary plants?

Deer don’t like to eat rosemary plants. But you can never be sure with deer as a hungry deer can go for any plants if their preferred sources are not available. Nonetheless, rosemary is a beautiful aromatic plant that can enhance the ambiance of your garden. 

Deer are known for their heightened sense of smell hence they don’t like aromatic plants like rosemary. 

If you’re too worried about your plants being destroyed by deer, you don’t have to worry so much about the rosemary plants. The intense aroma and strong taste of the needle-like leaves disturb deer. They find them repulsive and disturbing and tend to avoid them.

Does rosemary repel deer?

There’s no scientific evidence to prove that rosemary or other aromatic herbs can repel deer. But they do help them keep at a distance. Deer look for food with the help of their incredibly strong smelling sense. 

When the strong-smelling aromatic plants like rosemary are among the plants that they love to eat, they get confused as the smell of rosemary masks other smells.

Deer can’t stand the strong scent that aromatic plants give off. They don’t like the pungent aroma that comes from rosemary. Now rosemary alone may not be able to deter deer but a deer would certainly keep its distance from it. 

You can combine rosemary with other strong aromatic herbs to make a strong defense. 

3 reasons why rosemary repels deer

Deer prefer to keep their distance from aromatic herbs like rosemary for the following reasons.

Strong smelling essential oil:

Rosemary plants have a strong scent due to the essential oil present in them. The oil is mostly extracted from the flowering tops, but the stems and leaves also contain some oil. 

The whole plant exudes the strong scent of essential oil. The smell confuses animals like deer who live and feed with the help of their smelling sense. 

The intense scent of the foliage:

Rosemary’s foliage gives off an intense aroma that’s excessively unappealing to deer. Deer like to steer clear of strong aromatic plants like rosemary. This is exactly why planting aromatic herbs is a good way of keeping deer at bay. 

The scent of rosemary also helps to mask other smells that are appealing to them. Deer don’t like it when a strong scent strikes upon their sense of smell which affects their defense mechanism. 

Unpleasant taste:

While rosemary is a widely used herb in our food to enhance both the taste and flavor of various dishes, deer find the taste of rosemary quite unpleasant. A hungry deer is known to eat anything at its sight, but even a desperate deer may avoid herbs like rosemary. 

This is why gardeners often plant several aromatic herbs to discourage deer from coming near the garden.

How to repel deer with rosemary?

Rosemary is a lovely plant to have in a garden. It can be grown both in containers indoors and outside in the yard or garden. You can use rosemary in the following ways to keep deer at bay. 

Planting rosemary with other plants to mask their smell: 

The smell of rosemary is strong and pungent. You can plant rosemary in between plants that deer tend to eat. This will help to mask the smell of those plants. Deer look for their food with their sense of smell. 

Their senses will be disturbed by the intense pungent aroma of the rosemary and they will avoid coming near the plants.

Using pots of rosemary to confuse deer:

Using potted rosemary will help you move the location of the plants. You can include some pots along with some shrubs and bushes. Sometimes, you can change the location and move the pots to the edges of your garden.

Deer get habituated to any situation very easily. If they see a pattern repeating every day, they soon come up with another way to get near their favorite plants. 

Also, if you can manage to change the placement of the rosemary plants, it will confuse them and your garden will lose its appeal to them. 

You can also keep an eye to find out the route they take to enter the yard or garden. You can move some pots there. When they smell the rosemary, they will lose interest in entering your area. 

Keep on moving the pots when they change their patterns and find new ways to enter the yard. This should help you keep them at a distance. 

Making a natural spray with rosemary oil and vinegar:

You can make a natural spray with rosemary oil and vinegar. Just combine 16 ounces of vinegar with 10-12 drops of rosemary oil. Shake well and spray the mixture around the plants that deer love to eat. This will help to mask the smell and keep them away. 

Keep a check on rain as you will have to reapply every time it rains as the mixture will wash away.

Placing rosemary oil-soaked cotton balls:

Another way is to soak some cotton balls in rosemary oil and place them near the areas that deer like to visit. You can also place some around the edges of your garden. 

Since rosemary oil is a concentrated form, it has a stronger smell that can work better to strike on their sense of smell. Just make sure to replace the old cotton balls with new ones from time to time. 

What herbs repel deer? 

Every deer is unique and their characteristics vary a lot. Another thing about deer is that they get habituated to different situations easily. Hence it can’t be said for sure that herbs can repel deer. 

It’s true that deer don’t like the smell and taste of some herbs, but they still may be unable to repel them for a long time.

But, you can bring some change in the patterns of how you use these herbs to keep deer out of your garden. Some herbs possess a stronger smell than others and those are the herbs that deer can’t stand. The strong herbal scent disturbs their sense of smell. 

Most of these herbs are both intolerable and unpalatable to deer. Following are some of the herbs that can help you steer deer away from your yard.

  • Lavender
  • Catnip
  • Germander
  • Lavender cotton 
  • Russian sage
  • Bee balm
  • Yarrow
  • Thyme
  • Borage
  • Chives

Final Thoughts 

Deer don’t eat herbs like rosemary. It’s true that you can never be sure with a hungry and desperate deer. A hungry deer can eat any plant at its sight. But deer tend to avoid herbs with a strong pungent scent like rosemary. The smell from these herbs disturbs their sense of smell.

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