Weeping willows are temperate zone trees. They grow best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 2 through 9A, sharing a habitat with many types of deer.
Deer like to nibble on woody plants and will search out food wherever they can find it, especially during early spring when the tender buds are developing on a willow’s drooping branches. Those drooping branches make it easy for hungry deer to reach the tasty treats.
Deer are keener on deciduous fruit trees from young conifers to willow trees. However, they will eat almost anything if food is scarce.
Weeping willows are notoriously prone to fungal and other diseases, and deer stripping the willow bark can allow fungi or bacteria to penetrate the tree and infect it.
In our guide, you can learn, do deer eat weeping willow trees, and more.
What Animals Eat Willow Trees?
Willow trees are a favorite food source for several animals. While you are unlikely to see many birds swooping through your garden to eat from your willow tree, if you were to see a willow tree in the mountains, you might witness both small and large animals eating from willow trees commonly known as foraging or grazing.
Elk, deer, and moose are among the larger animals. These animals eat the stems of the trees. Rabbits and grouse are among the smaller animals that eat from the willow tree.
Weeping willows (Salix babylonica) present an imposing figure at maturity, with their stunning presence and graceful form — hardly one that deer could appear to destroy.
Deer enjoy nibbling on woody plants and will find food wherever it is available; drooping branches of deciduous fruit trees (crab apple) and young conifers to willow trees, but young trees are more susceptible to harm than mature trees. (Learn How To Kill A Hackberry Tree)
Unless the tree is already sick, the older the willow is, the less likely it is to incur significant harm from deer activity in the form of foliage or bark loss.
If you ask do deer eat tree bark, they strip it from the tree, and then the weeping willows can fall foul to bacteria entering and infecting the tree.
Rabbits and other small animals can be easier to keep away from your plants and trees than deer. Deer damage almost always happens in the spring, and it almost always happens on new vegetation.
Unlike rabbit damage, which leaves sharp-edged wounds, deer will strip twigs and stems of bark roughly, leaving shredded fragments of bark still attached to the wood. Because deer don’t have upper incisors, wood stripped of bark will exhibit no teeth marks.
Is a Weeping Willow Deer Resistant?
Deer are enormous animals that can be tough to keep out of your yard. Because deer can jump, the fence must be at least 8 feet tall and made of strong, densely woven wire.
Spraying deer repellant on the tree or installing motion-activated strobe lights near the tree are two options. Netting can provide some protection for saplings. If your weeping willow is huge, mature, and healthy, it could potentially withstand deer feedings.
If your weeping willow is large, mature and healthy, it can stand a few feeding deer. It’s best to probably just let the deer munch away.
Are Willow Shrubs Deer Resistant?
Dappled Willow is a shrub that grows 4-6 feet tall and is native to Korea and Japan. It works to prevent erosion along streams and creates ornamental screening for your yard. Their deer-resistant weeping structure creates an attractive, relaxing setting.
Why Are Willow Trees Bad?
Did you know that the weeping willow tree’s name is not derived from its downward-pointing branches? It’s a long way off. The tree is native to China, and the Chinese called it the name “weeping” because precipitation falls from the curled branches and appears like a tear.
Willow trees are well-known for their susceptibility to disease. Unfortunately, because they focus so much of their energy on growing large, they neglect to invest in their protection mechanisms. Cytospora canker, bacterial blight, tarspot fungus, and other diseases are among them. (Read How to Kill a Eucalyptus Tree)
Willow trees, like poplar trees, shed a lot of stuff into your grass and property. Just to keep things at a healthy level, a single wind storm can cost you an hour of raking time.