Do Deer Eat Tomato Plants? Keeping Your Tomatoes Safe

deer eats vegetables

Deer can eat a wide array of fruits, vegetables, flowers and foliage especially when other sources of food are not readily available. Deer can even decimate entire rose plants if they need to. With that said, they will surely love to get their dose of lycopene from your tomatoes if you let them to.

Mature deer need to consume as much as 10 pounds of food per day in order to survive. That fact can scare farmers as well as average home gardeners especially when deer frequently pass by their area. What they eat however, will vary depending on the specie, season as well as the region they are in.

Tomatoes are grown when the danger of frost is gone. Deer are also known to feed heavily during spring and summer. Does typically get pregnant during this season and bucks also need a lot of food for the growth of their horns. This is basically why tomato plants are definitely on the deer’s to eat list.

Do Deer Eat Tomato Plants?

deers eating

Absolutely. Frankly speaking, they will not just eat the tomatoes, they will actually annihilate them if they are given the chance. Deer are very voracious eaters and they will not have second thoughts about devouring the tomato plants in your garden especially when it is a matter of survival for them.

Although there are gardeners and farmers who say that deer do not harm their tomatoes, it might just be because the deer was able to find something else to eat. They also say that deer do not like to eat mature ones and that they will not eat tomatoes that are unripe. But I think it all depends on availability.

You need to keep in mind that deer are capable of eating hot peppers, prickly okra and even skunk cabbage, which can easily burn the human mouth. If they have access to something better than tomatoes then they might skip it. But if they are hungry, then you should pray they leave something behind.

How Will I Know If My Tomatoes Are In Danger?


The best way to find out if you need to protect your tomato plants from deer is to try looking out for their presence early in the morning. If you live in an area near the woods or in the countryside, you should try to check if they pass by your property especially during spring and summer.

You can also conduct an inspection of your property. Try to look for small cylindrical potholes or their hoof prints that look like reverse hearts. You should also check if there are small piles of round droppings around your plants. If you see any of these signs, then deer are frequenting your property.

You should also try to check if your gardens have not been trampled. If deer pass through your property, they will surely step all over your plants and make a lot of mess. You should also look for foliage that looks like they have been torn rather than clipped since deer do not have incisors.

What Should I Do To Keep Them Away From My Tomato Plants?

deer eating

If you want to keep your tomato plants safe, I highly recommend that you install a fence around your property if possible, or at least around your garden. The fence needs to be strong and sturdy enough to withstand the strength of a deer and also the elements. The fence has to be at least 8 feet high.

If you do not want to put up a fence, you can always opt to have your dog stay near your plants. Your dog can help deter the deer from coming closer to your property. But you need to understand that in dire situations, the deer might try to take desperate measures just to feed on your plants.

There are those who say that soap can help repel deer. But in most cases, using soap, predator urine and other homemade solutions that are meant for your convenience have little or no effect. However, a lot of people say that spraying an egg and water mixture on your plants can help keep deer away.


hungry deer

Do deer eat tomato plants? Definitely yes. But it will all depend on whether deer are able to find other sources of food or if they are in desperate need of sustenance. If other types of food are available, then they might actually leave your tomato plants alone. If not, then they will definitely eat all of it.

The best way for you to protect your tomato plants is to first find out whether they are in danger of being eaten by deer or not. Try to look for signs such as hoof prints, droppings and other signs of their presence in your area.

If they are around, then you should install an 8-foot high fence. You can also let your dog guard your garden and you can also try to use eggs. However, I recommend that you do all that you can to protect your tomato plants because you might not have anything left to protect once the deer are through.

About the Author Emily Taylor

My name is Emily Taylor, gardening is my passion and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone. I know that there are millions of people out there want their backyard and garden be attractive just like their front yard, so I am here to help you create your own backyard paradise.

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1 comment
Jameet Singh says Jan. 2019

Nice info about tomato I love the way you explain all the things related to tomatoes.

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