Midwestern Native Deer Resistant Trees


Midwestern residents have to deal with the grazing and trampling of their shrubs by Odocoileus virginianus or the white-tailed deer. There are many choices of ornamental trees that are deer-resistant, but this is a list of flowering, North American natives that will work in the Midwest. Remember, when the weather is sever enough, deer will eat anything.

Asimina triloba = pawpaw tree – This fruit bearing tree can reach a height of 20 feet. The leaves tend to offer a tropical feel in the yard and offers great, red fall color. Fruits are described as tasting like banana custard. I’m investing in one of these very soon!!


Amelanchier = Serviceberry – This tree is a favorite of the author. These single or multi-stemmed trees grow well in full sun and reach heights of 15 feet. This tree also is dubbed the “4-season tree” as it blooms white in the spring, has wonderful green color for summer, eye-popping red fall color and red berries that stay for most of the winter that are edible (jams) and birds enjoy.


Cercis canadensis = eastern redbud – A highly sought-after understory tree, meaning it needs shade and protection from the elements. This beauty blooms in early spring in shocking bright purple/pink on leafless branches. Sizes range, but can get to heights of 20 feet if in a well protected site.

Chionanthus virginicus = fringe tree – This small, ornamental tree does well in both sun and partial shade and only reaches about 12 feet high. It can be pruned into a single trunk if desired. It blooms white, fringe-like blooms in May, followed by blue berries in fall.

Pagoda Dogwood

Cornus alternifolia = pagoda dogwood – This tree has an interesting, horizontal branching habit that makes it look like a pagoda. Beautiful white blooms adorn this tree in spring and blue berries that the birds enjoy follow. This tree does well in both sun and shade and only reaches about 15 feet.

Hammamelis vernalis = spring witchhazel – A very hardy tree for the shade area that can reach heights of 15 feet. It is also the first tree to bloom in this area, sometimes showing it’s yellow/red blooms in February!

Hammamelis virginiana = common witchhazel –  Another hardy variety of witchhazel that is the last to bloom in the area, showing it’s blooms in late October. This tree prefers shade and can reach heights on 15 feet.

20 thoughts on “Midwestern Native Deer Resistant Trees

  1. Pingback: Midwestern Deer Resistant Perennials | Midwestern Plants

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    • No question is stoopid 😉
      You got me thinking here… Yes, I’ll admit I’m an animal lover and would be hard pressed to hurt one. However, I do have a line that animals do cross sometimes that requires me to push them back. Rabbits have popped up recently, eating my rudbeckia… applying blood meal took care of them very easily.
      My first thought is that if they are feeding them enough… they shouldn’t be eating your plants 😉 However, surely that’s not what’s happening or you wouldn’t have asked.
      Sprays (deer off) only work till the next rain. At work, we have had some luck with the granules of deer off (type products) sprinkled in the soil.
      This is a high maintenance job, cuz if you miss one day… Boom! Eaten plant.
      Of all the deterants I’ve heard of, I feel the ones that scare them or make the plant unpalatable are the best. Passive stuff like human hair, predator pee or having a dog (or 2!) doesn’t do squat. They still come in my yard!
      I have a motion detection light on my house in back, which is 50/50 on keeping them from eating my hosta there. On the other hand, the front of my house is very well lite and I have never had deer browsing there. I do have desirable plants there for them also. My tulips have never been munched.
      So, after this long ramble… I don’t think I answered your question! 😣
      Maybe join the neighbor and feed them also? Ha ha!
      Maybe try some solar lights in the eaten areas?
      I wish you the best! Those little guys are eating machines. Let me know if you have any success. 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Deer Rutting = Tree Trunk Damage | Midwestern Plants

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