Do Deer Eat Elderberry Bushes

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There are lots of wild fruits and berries that deer find tasty and feed on in the wild. As such, there are not many deer-resistant shrubs and bushes. As elderberries are native to the United States, deer will feed on them for most parts of the year. Though not as much as bears love the fruit, deer, moose, and elk often browse on the foliage and stems of elderberry bushes. 

Elderberry bushes offer many people who grow them, including shade, flowers, fruits, and protection. Besides these sufficient attributes, elderberries feed the wildlife without needing too much attention and care for survival. In this context, they do too much yet require so little. 

Can I Grow Elderberry Bushes in My Food Plot?

How Fast Will it Take Elderberry to Grow?

Elderberries are among the fastest-growing native plants you can find. Within three to five years, you can have a bushy edge that requires trimming if you are using it as a fence. Every season the elderberry plant grows 24-inches, which is very impressive considering the hardy environments it grows in. 

What Is the Spread of Elderberries

The most common use of elderberries in deer management is a deer-resistant plant. However, deer are survivors and will feed on elderberries when they need it. Other deer managers believe that deer love elderberries and grow them as in the plots to attract deer presence. 

But we can be sure that deer is tolerant to elderberries, and planting it as a deer-resistant plant will never deter deer from feeding in your garden or food plot.  Another widespread use of elderberries is as a filler crop to fill the dead spaces in your garden. 

Elderberries spread wide, and this multi-stemmed tree grows between 6-12 feet across. They grow tall fast, and at maturity, elderberries are typically small trees of 15 feet high or more. 

In the wild, elderberry plants grow from small seeds spread by birds making it multiply rapidly over an ecosystem that supports their growth. The plants become dense so fast as the thickets are raised from suckers emanating from the shallow roots. 

As the elderberries grow, the height will depend on the growing conditions and the variety. Most elderberry varieties can reach a size of between 5-16 feet tall.

What are The Best Elderberry Varieties to Grow in Your Food Plot?

Elderberries are versatile and can grow almost anywhere in the world. It is a productive plant that has more uses for both man and animals alike. 

Adams Elderberry

The scientific name is Sambucus canadensis, but its common name is Adam Elderberry or Adams. It is native to North America and among the most commonly planted varieties. Planted Adams is similar to the ones you will find in the wild. 

It is easy to identify the Adams elderberry as it has distinctive clusters of small purple fruits surrounded with white flowers. Elderberries are attractive and contribute to the aesthetic value of any garden. 

The Adams elderberry can reach between 6-10 feet tall and are also hardy as other elderberries. 

Black Beauty Elderberries

It is not native to North America but an import from Europe. It has a lemon taste that most people find unique besides the distinct dark leaves and pink blossoms. Black beauty elderberries grow well in moist and wet environments.

It is among the smaller elderberry varieties and will only grow to a maximum height of between 4-6 feet at maturity. If pruned early, it can blossom to unimaginable sizes and bear healthy fruits.

Similar to other varieties of elderberry fruits, they make fine wine. To ensure that you have effective cross-pollination, you must buy two or more plants when starting to grow the Black Beauty elderberry.

Black Lace Elderberry

The black lace elderberry has pink flowers and dark lacey leaves. Like other elderberries, it is also versatile, but it needs moist and wet environments to thrive. It is also among the smaller varieties of elderberries and will grow only eight feet to maturity. 

Black lace berries are easy to trim, and you can prune them to achieve many designs as you want in your garden. 

Blue Elderberry

The blue elderberry is a native plant to North American states like Mexico, Westcoast, and the western United States. 

Blue elderberries have powder-like blueberry fruits, and most people can confuse them with blueberry fruits. The rich flavor of the blue elderberry is unique and also an acquired taste. 

Planting the blue elderberry is not the same as planting other varieties. It will perform best if you grow it from the seed. It will thrive in warm regions and is among the tallest elderberry varieties capable of reaching between 10-30 feet high and spread 18 feet across.

York Elderberry

York elderberries fall in the old-style variety and are the elderberries with the highest amount of fruit yield and large fruits. It is a cold-tolerant and resilient variety of elderberry and favorite to gardeners as a fencing solution. The York elderberry bush grows between 10-12 feet tall with a similar spread across. 

The York elderberry changes color in fall as the foliage turns to bright red and drops off in winter. 

Lemon Lace Elderberries

The lemon lace elderberry is a hardy plant and quite attractive when it blossoms during fall. It has light-colored green leaves with red fruits with white flowers.

The lemon lace elderberry has lots of properties and is best used as a wind, deer, and cold-resistant plant. It also does well when exposed to full sun, therefore versatile enough for all kinds of weather. 

It is the smallest elderberry variety that can only grow between 35 feet tall when mature.  


You can plant elderberries in your garden or as a food plot for deer management. There are many varieties to choose from, and settling on one can be challenging. However, you need not choose one type when you can grow more than one variety if readily available. Most elderberry plants can grow well together, and the blend gives attractive florals.

If it is your first time experimenting with elderberry bushes, you can opt for moist breeds as they thrive in butterfly ecosystems. 

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