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Do Deer Eat Sweet Potato Vine?

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Here's a short verdict: Compared to bell peppers and their leaves, our deer seem more enthusiastic about sweet potato vines, and if you offer them sweet potato vege they are very happy to indulge.

Now to unwrap...

Sweet potato vine is a plant that belongs to the morning glory family, and it's a popular plant for both decorative and edible purposes. But have you ever wondered if deer like to munch on sweet potato vines? Well, let's explore this topic and find out if deer do eat sweet potatoes.

First of all, let's address the concern of whether sweet potato vines are poisonous. While sweet potato leaves do contain some toxins, they're not harmful to humans and most animals when consumed in small amounts. However, excessive consumption can lead to digestive problems.

Do deer eat sweet potato vines?

Now, onto the question at hand - do deer eat sweet potato vines? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Deer are notorious for eating almost anything they can get their hooves on, and sweet potato vines are no exception. If you have a garden or farm that's frequented by deer, you might want to protect your sweet potato plants from being devoured.

Here's what some people are writing on forums:

"First year to try sweet potatoes and they were looking great, starting to bloom and I've sacrificed lots of space in my small garden just to taste a freshly dug potato. The deer have eaten every leaf on all the vines. I put a radio in the patch, guess that just provided mood music for a lovely evening meal!"

deer eating sweet potato vine

From the picture above you might notice that our vine is not only being eaten by deer but catepillars are having a feast. That's because we've just been playing with growing this plant, not caring for it much. There were these sprouted kumaras (that's what they're called in New Zealand) and we cut them into pieces and simply planted into the soil. Voila, we had vigorous plants.

Deer eating sweet potato vine: video

A short video demonstrating how a deer defoliates a sweet potato vine. Leaf by leaf. Stems are of little interest. Some deer like this vine a lot, others will just nibble a couple of leaves and walk away.

But, how can you keep deer from eating your sweet potato plants?

There are a few methods you can try, such as using deer-resistant plants to create a barrier around your sweet potato plants, or installing fencing around your garden. You can also try using deer repellent sprays or other deterrents to keep deer away. We've covered most sane and some dubious methods of keeping deer away in our post here.

If deer do eat your sweet potato plants, will they grow back?

The answer is yes, they usually will. Sweet potato plants have a unique ability to regrow even after being grazed upon. So, don't worry too much if your sweet potato plants have been nibbled on - they'll likely recover just fine.

Are Sweet Potatoes Good For Deer?

Sweet potatoes are actually a great source of nutrition for deer. They're high in carbohydrates, which provide deer with energy, and they're also rich in vitamins and minerals. Here is the approximate nutritional composition of sweet potatoes :

Nutrient Amount per 100 grams
Carbohydrates 20.12 g
Fiber 3 g
Protein 1.6 g
Fat 0.05 g
Vitamin A 14187 IU
Vitamin C 2.4 mg
Vitamin E 0.26 mg
Vitamin K 1.8 µg
Thiamine (B1) 0.078 mg
Riboflavin (B2) 0.061 mg
Niacin (B3) 0.557 mg
Pantothenic Acid (B5) 0.8 mg
Vitamin B6 0.209 mg
Folate (B9) 11 µg
Vitamin B12 0 µg
Calcium 30 mg
Iron 0.61 mg
Magnesium 25 mg
Phosphorus 47 mg
Potassium 337 mg
Sodium 55 mg
Zinc 0.3 mg

If you want to feed deer sweet potatoes, make sure to cut them into small pieces, you can even cook them first, as this will make it easier for deer to chew and digest.

In summary, while sweet potato vines may be a tasty treat for deer, there are ways to protect your sweet potato plants from being eaten. And if you want to feed deer sweet potatoes, it's a nutritious food source that they'll likely enjoy. Just remember to cut the sweet potatoes first and feed them in moderation. Happy gardening or deer feeding!

Last modified 2023-03-15 at 09:07


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