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Deer are graceful, charming creatures, but you may not notice their beauty the moment they invade your open garden. While there’s little that the voracious varmint won’t touch on; you can enjoy your agronomy peacefully by carefully choosing plants they dislike. While there aren’t any completely resistant plants when this ungulate’s food sources are low, do deer eat onions?
Onions, especially the root bulbs, aren’t a favorite food for deer due to their potent smell. Not only does the offensive onion aroma irritate the deer’s senses, but it also acts as a signal jammer for the shifty eater. Since deer browse on plant leaves, it’s also difficult for them to pull up the root vegetables.
It’s not easy to eliminate deer from trampling on or damaging onions even though they don’t eat them. Continue with this article to explore your options for optimizing your onion harvest against the buck, doe, and fawn invaders.
Do Animals like Deer Eat Onions?
Growing onions, among other vegetables, is a satisfying experience. These bulbs are easy to grow, sturdy, and not selective about the soil they grow in. They are also a favorite of various animals, including cats, dogs, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, groundhogs, and moles. Even snakes, rats, and birds like chickens find the onion plant delectable. However, the strong aroma turns deer and other herbivores off.
Onions, the scientific name Allium cepa, act as a natural deer repellent to keep the ungulate off your other plants that they like. The entire allium family is too intense for this pest’s consumption, including leeks, chives, shallots, and garlic. The bulb’s strong aroma interferes with a deer’s alertness of scent, masking the smells of any predator nearby.
When you plant onions with other aromatic spices like thyme, garlic, or honeybush, this odor combination is enough to confuse deer. You can see how the pests enter your garden through giveaways like hoof prints, dropping, or partially eaten plants. Onions planted along this pathway and between crops that the varmint prefers will help repel them and protect your vegetables.
Are Onions Deer-Proof Vegetables?
While unpalatable to deer in times of plenty, onions aren’t completely resistant to the ungulate. Being a ruminant, this animal can digest various plant materials using fermentation. As such, an onion won’t kill these pests, and when hungry, their tastes adapt to the point that little can deter them. A deer fawn, for instance, may take a bite out of your bulbs only to spit out the noxious bunions, and you’ll remain with the damage.
Deer are unpredictable when hungry, and they’ll munch on the most unpalatable fare in times of famine. When their favorite plants aren’t available, this varmint will turn to onion plants for the leaves, essentially damaging the underground bulbs. Young nursery shoots and seedlings are especially delicious to the animal when it’s famished.
When a herd’s population is high, water and food become scarce, leading deer to graze on any edible plant. A third of this animal’s water requirement comes from consuming plants, and during drought, the ungulate will eat anything to avoid becoming dehydrated.
The upside is that when desperate, deer will find their fill of wild ornaments or plants before they can raid your onion garden. Forays are usually nocturnal, so avoid planting any fruits or vegetables that the ungulate favors.