What Options Are There for Plants that Attract Whitetail Deer?

Whether it’s for hunting purposes or just to appreciate local wildlife, there are a number of ways you can attract whitetail deer to your property. One popular way of doing so is to add certain plants to your yard. The plants you choose will need to provide suitable water, cover, and plenty of food, such as fruits, flowers, buds, or leaves. As it turns out, there are a variety of options you can choose from that fit these criteria. Read on below to find a number of suggestions of plants that attract whitetail deer.

Staghorn Sumac - What Options Are There for Plants that Attract Whitetail Deer?

Staghorn Sumac
This deciduous shrub or small tree is a favorite browse plant for wildlife. Whitetail deer will like both the fruits and the velvety stems, and the plant will also provide cover. It can grow in dry soil but prefers to be in soil that’s well drained and can grow to be about 15 to 20 feet tall. Sumac shrubs or trees will also look beautiful on your property, especially when their foliage turns red in the fall.

Plum Trees
Plums are a favorite fruit of whitetail deer, making these trees great plants for attracting them to your property. Plums are great for attracting other wildlife as well. The fruit will typically ripen in the summer, so they’re a great food source from summer through the early fall.

Wild American plum is a plant that produces a heavy fruit load. The leaves on this tree can also be edible. It typically grows to be between 15 and 25 feet tall and can provide the suitable cover that whitetail deer are looking for.


Japanese plum is a tree that will grow to be up to about 12 to 15 feet tall. Its fruits are known for being incredibly sweet and juicy.

Indian plum is a fruit tree that’s native to Oregon, and its small fruits are a favorite to attract local wildlife. It’s also a tree that attracts birds to your property.

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Acorn-Producing Trees
Whitetail deer typically love to eat acorns, which are found on oak, beech, chestnut, and hickory trees.

White oak trees are preferred to attract whitetail deer because their acorns are sweeter and less acidic than red oak tree acorns. White oak acorns also mature in six months, so acorns are produced every year, while red oaks don’t drop acorns every year. But red oaks can still also be used to attract deer.

Hickory trees grow nuts that are very popular with different kinds of wildlife, and these trees are also a browse for deer.

American beech trees produce small nuts that attract deer and other wildlife animals. You’ll also love the look of its smooth bark.

Berry-Producing Shrubs and Trees
This category includes plants such as creeping snowberry, red elderberry, and serviceberry, which are all shrubs and trees that are native to Oregon.

Serviceberry is a plant that’s an important winter browse for elk and deer. It grows white or pale pink flowers in the spring and small red berries that are eaten by birds and humans, in addition to deer. It’s both drought tolerant and tolerant of seasonally wet soils.

The white berries of creeping snowberry shrubs stay on through the winter, even when its leaves fall off. This plant is adaptable to different conditions and usually grows to be about 3 to 9 feet tall.

Red elderberry is a tree that can grow over 12 feet its first year, and it grows white flowers in late spring, with berries following afterward.

Persimmon is a taller tree that can be used to attract whitetail deer. It can grow up to 60 feet and provides both cover and works as a browse. Persimmons fruit, which is a very large berry, usually ripens during deer season.

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Hackberry
These trees are known for being a preferred food browse of whitetail deer. The small fruits it produces are also enjoyed by other wildlife. These trees are also able to tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. Hackberries typically grow to be 40 to 60 feet tall and grow at a medium to fast rate.

Apple Trees
The sweet smell of apple trees, such as crabapple trees, will attract whitetail deer to your property. Whitetail deer will especially enjoy these trees in September and October. As an added bonus, most apple trees are also relatively easy to establish. You can also try planting different varieties together.

Annuals and Perennials
Whitetail deer will like to eat plants with high protein, such as alfalfa, soybean, corn, kale, and peas. Because they’re annuals, corn, peas, and soybeans typically grow quickly. Wheat is an essential annual to attract whitetail deer because it provides a good source of food during the colder months of the year. Alfalfa, which provides a source of energy, is a perennial. Other perennials that you can plant to attract whitetail deer are chicory, and red, white ladino, and alsike clover varieties. Clovers are typically fairly easy to grow.

Finally, there are some general tips to keep in mind. For example, it’s usually recommended to plant away from roads. This is because whitetail deer will likely be scared and try to stay away from those areas. You may also want to avoid planting anything that’s too fragrant, such as lilacs or garlic, because deer can be sensitive to strong smells. You can also contact the Oregon Department of Fish and Game for more information on ways to attract whitetail deer that are specific to this state.

No matter what kinds of plants that attract whitetail deer you decide to use on your property, they’re going to need some upkeep and general maintenance. And if you have any questions or concerns about the plants, it’s good to have experts to turn to. That’s where we come in at Mr. Tree Inc. We have decades of experience and expertise in all sorts of plants and trees, including those that attract wildlife. You can find out more information about Mr. Tree on our website.

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