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Do deer eat walnuts? If you live in a rural area, or just an area where deer are common, it can be difficult to protect your plants from them. Deer are notorious for eating nearly anything that they can find, and walnuts are no different.

Do Deer Eat Walnuts?

Yes, deer will eat walnuts. Though walnuts are not their first choice when it comes to nuts to eat, if they are desperate, or if they are just hungry and there are no other foods, they will eat walnuts.

They may even develop a taste for your walnut tree, as you can see in this video!

Do Deer Eat All Types of Walnuts?

Deer will eat all types of walnut, but only if they need the food and there are no other, easier types of food to eat. The reason for this is that walnuts are very hard to get into and eat. If you have ever eaten or shelled a walnut, it is difficult to get into the nut and access the edible part of the nut.

Deer are not going to spend their energy shelling walnuts if there is easier food to be had. As winter approaches, the supply of food starts to dwindle. The amount of food that deer can easily access starts to reduce. Walnuts start to look like a better and better food source for deer.

Often, deer are not going to eat walnuts unless they have no other option or unless the walnuts are already shelled and easy to eat. They will eat any type of walnut if they need to. Depending on where you live and what type of walnut tree you have, deer will eat what is available to them.

Are Walnuts Good for Deer?

Walnuts are not particularly good or bad for deer. They are not poisonous, and they are not particularly full of nutrients that the deer needs. Since walnuts are so hard to crack, they may end up taking more energy to crack and eat than they ultimately provide for the deer.

Most deer are going to opt for softer nuts like pecans. They can crush the pecan hull very easily and can get a much higher nutrient payoff with something like pecans instead of walnuts.

Do Deer Eat Walnut Trees?

Whitetail deer in the garden with trees

Your walnut trees on the other hand are fair game for deer, as you can see in the video above! Deer definitely do eat walnut trees.

Deer eat woody stems, leaves, and even bark in the winter to keep their fat stores up and to help survive the winter. In the winter, greenery is going to be limited, walnut trees however continue to grow and are a great source of food for deer.

For larger trees, this is not a huge issue. Many large trees have grown above the deer’s browse point. It won’t usually hurt to allow the deer to eat some bark and twigs.

If the deer do eat too much of a tree or cause too much damage to the bark, it can cause the tree to start to deteriorate or even die completely. If you are noticing that your walnut trees have large areas of bark that are being eaten or large areas of the tree that are damaged, you may need to find a way to protect your trees.

Very small trees and saplings are especially at risk of being eaten by deer. It’s best to protect small trees from deer until they are big enough to withstand the damage.

How to Protect Walnut Trees From Deer?

Deer in the garden

With small trees, you can easily cage them which helps to protect them. With a small tree, caging it until it is larger and can withstand some damage can help it to thrive.

Caging is simple enough. You can use chicken wire and stakes, deer netting, actual fencing, and even latticework. These are all great ways to create a barrier between the trees and the deer so that they cannot reach the tree.

With larger trees, you can also cage them. This is going to be a bit harder since the trees are larger. You can cage the bottom at a wide diameter so deer cannot reach the tree.

If you do not want to, or you cannot cage your trees, you can always try deterrents. You can get deer deterrents that use smell to keep deer away from your trees. You can also use sound and motion-activated items to help keep animals away from your trees so that you can keep your walnut trees healthy and thriving.

Are Walnuts Deer Resistant?

Walnuts are fairly deer resistant. For the most part, walnuts are going to be safe from deer. Deer leave walnuts alone unless they have no other option. Small trees are most in danger of being eaten by deer and the bark of mature trees may also be eaten.

Keep reading!

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