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Do deer like lemons?

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Citrus trees overall, being aromatic plants, are not deer favorite food but they will eat them once they've ran out of better options. So if you have citrus trees in your backyard, it's not uncommon for deer to help themselves to the ripe fruit now and again.

yes deer can eat lemons

Are lemon trees deer-resistant?

Bucks can rub antlers on the trunk of any tree, stripping it of bark, so any tree can suffer damage, even one deer won’t eat.

Whether deer like to eat lemon tree foliage and fruits - depends how hungry they get. Citrus trees are not deers' first pick, but they do eat them when their choices become limited. So technically it is deer-resistant because it doesn’t attract these animals like a plum or a peach tree would. But it would be wrong to say lemon repels deer, because they do gobble up whole lemons sometimes.

We’ve noticed deer will prefer fruits (with peels) to tree leaves. So lower branches don’t suffer from heavy deer browsing, whereas avocado trees get completely defoliated at the lower level and are looking horrible after a couple of deer visits.

How to protect your lemon tree from deer

If you're growing lemon trees you could be worried about deer damage, in which case do check out our general advice on how deer damage trees and how to protect them. Young saplings are of course most vulnerable and should be fenced off.

Are lemons healthy for deer to eat?

Yes, lemon fruits are healthy for deer in moderation. Similar to apples and many other fruits or veges, deer will rip benefits from including various things in their diet as long as they don’t suddenly drastically change their usual ‘menu’.

Citrus fruits offer many health benefits.

Lemons in particular can be a good source of vitamin C,  In addition, they’re a decent source of potassium and vitamin B6. But in big quantities these citruses can cause gastrointestinal problems and tooth decay. So while it is a good occasional snack for deer, it shouldn’t be viewed as something they can live off of.

How to feed lemons to deer in your backyard 

If you decide to treat feral deer to some fruits that you’d bought from a supermarket, better wash them to remove any possible preservative or pesticide residue.

deer can digest lemons

It is best to cut lemons into wedges or slices that are easy to bite and if there are many animals - to distribute the feed on the ground widely, so they don’t fight over one big pile of food.

What would deer rather eat?

Deer given choice of food: corn, lemon, orange, carrot or pumpkin. What do they eat first? What is deer's preferred meal?

It seems odd to us humans, but from our observations, our deer, more often than not, might actually prefer lemons to other citrus fruits (oranges, tangerines). Especially if cut into small pieces. They may walk past a lemon tree with fruits hanging fully within their reach, or ignore an old moldy fruit on the ground underneath, but you offer them a chink of freshly cut lemon and they're into it. So as sour as they are, lemons still are on deers menu.

🍋 Do you have any questions for us about feeding deer lemons? Ask us in the comment section below!

Last modified 2022-12-03 at 10:50


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