Damage to landscape plants by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus Raf.) is widespread in many areas in the northeastern U. S. A mail survey to assess the extent and impact of deer damage to nursery producers, landscape firms and homeowners was conducted in suburban areas of southeastern and western New York in 1989. About two-thirds of producers and landscape firms, and slightly fewer than one-fourth of homeowners reported damage by deer during 1988. Yews, (Taxus spp.) and white cedar, (Thuja occidentalis L.), were listed most frequently by respondents as plants damaged by deer. The majority of respondents believed that damage was most severe during winter or spring. Some producers and homeowners reported severe economic losses from deer damage. Use of damage prevention was widespread among respondents who had experiences with deer and deer damage. Browse-resistant plants, such as spruce (Picea spp.), juniper (Juniperus spp.), andromeda (Pieris spp.), and boxwood (Buxus spp.) were used by some respondents. Many people also wanted additional information and research to improve damage prevention. Damage to landscape plants was a primary concern to a majority of producers, but was less of a concern to landscape firms and homeowners. Instead, these latter groups were most concerned about risks they associated with deer such as Lyme disease or deer-vehicle collisions.
This research was supported by USDA/APHIS contract number 536395-8-122 and by Hatch Project NYC 147303, USDA. We thank P. Curtis and M. Fargione for their comments on the manuscript; M. Peech for secretarial support: N. Bowers for typing: N. Connelly and R. Shiffler for assistance with the survey. We are grateful to L. Hulcoop, M. Riofrio, and P. Trader for providing lists of nursery producers and landscape firms. We are especially thankful to the respondents who took the time and interest to complete the questionnaires.
2Formerly. Research Support Specialist, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. Current address: Department of Biology. Box 8238, University Station, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, NO 58202.
3Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
4Professor and Head, Department of Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.