Home » Outdoor Gardening » Do Deer Eat Potatoes? (How to Keep Deer Away)

Do Deer Eat Potatoes? (How to Keep Deer Away)

I’m sure you have some potato plants in your garden, and you’re wondering: Do deer eat potatoes? I will clarify all your questions about potatoes and deer in this article. Planting and growing potatoes is straightforward, but often, you have to deal with certain pests and diseases.

Do Deer Eat Potatoes?

Do Deer Eat Potatoes? The answer to the question of whether deer eat potatoes is mixed. Potatoes are not the preferred food of deer, but if deer are hungry, they will eat potatoes. According to the University of Connecticut, potatoes are in the “Occasionally Damaged Plants” category.

There have been documented cases of deer entering potato crop fields and not damaging plants. That may happen because the deer had abundant food in their habitat and preferred to feed on other foods.

The deer preferred to eat beans, beets, and broccoli rather than potatoes. In short, deer eat potatoes if hungry due to a lack of food in their habitat. Fortunately, there are several ways to deter deer and protect your potatoes. I will explain these methods to protect your potatoes from deer in the following paragraphs.

do deer eat potatoes
Do Deer Eat Potatoes and Potato Plants? Under certain circumstances, deer might consume potatoes if they are readily available and there is a scarcity of other food sources.

Do Deer Eat Potato Plants?

What about potato plants? Potato leaves are toxic to deer, so they do not consume them. Solanine and chaconine, compounds found in all parts of the potato plant, including the leaves and flowers, serve as a natural defense mechanism against predators, safeguarding the plant.

However, when potatoes grow, or deer are hungry, potato plants may be partially damaged.

As mentioned in our article, “Do Deer Eat Pumpkins?” deer eat an average of 12 pounds (5.5 kg) of food per day. That is why if the deer are starving, they will eat everything in their path.

Deer are snooping animals and may also destroy potatoes with their footprints when inspecting what plants are in your garden. That is why it is essential to use methods to keep deer away from potatoes.

do deer eat potato plants
Do Deer Eat Potato Plants? Normally deer will not eat the potato plant because its leaves are toxic.

Will Potato Plants Regrow After Deer Eat?

Given favorable conditions, potato plants have the remarkable ability to regrow after being consumed by deer. When deer browse potato plants, they often target the leaves and stems. While severe damage can hinder regrowth, it can recover if the browsing is not extensive and the plant’s growing conditions are optimal.

After being browsed by deer, potato plants employ their energy reserves to initiate regrowth. The remaining healthy parts of the plant, such as the underground tubers, can provide the necessary resources for new growth. The plant will send out new shoots and leaves to replace the ones that were consumed.

Several factors can influence the regrowth potential of potato plants. Adequate access to sunlight, water, and nutrients is crucial for successful recovery. If the plant has a strong root system and favorable growing conditions, it can quickly regenerate new foliage.

However, it’s important to note that the extent of regrowth may depend on the severity of the browsing damage. If the plant has been severely damaged or repeatedly browsed, its ability to regrow may be limited. In such cases, the recovery process may be slower, and the plant may not fully regain its original vigor.

will potato plants regrow after deer eat
Will Potato Plants Regrow After Deer Eat? If deer consume parts of a potato plant, it is possible for the plant to regrow, depending on the extent of the damage.

Protect Potatoes and Keep Deer Out

As I mentioned, potatoes are not the preferred food of deer, but they can cause damage to potato plants or eat parts of the plants. Here are different methods to keep deer away from potatoes without harming them or using chemicals that are bad for the environment.

Motion-Activated Sprinkler: Using a motion-activated water sprinkler is my favorite method of keeping deer away from potatoes. These devices are inexpensive and very easy to install in any garden. When the deer get close to the potato plants, they will start spraying water, and the deer will be scared away. This is an excellent method to keep deer away from potatoes and prevent them from damaging the potatoes.

Cat Repellent Outdoor- Squirrel Deterrent Solar- Dog Repellent- Raccoon Deterrent Solar Motion-Activated Water Blaster Jet Spray Scare Away Deer, Rabbits, Birds & Other Animals
  • PEST CONTROL ENGINEERED TO WORK- The Solar Jet Sprayer Device Provides Dependable 24/7 Defense Against Deer, Rabbits, Foxes, Squirrels, Skunks, Raccoons, Birds, Bears, Cats, Dogs, Rodents & Other Outdoor Lawn, Yard, Plant & Garden Threats
  • POWERFUL JET STREAM DETERRENT- Unit Easily Stakes Into Ground & Hooks Into Any Standard Hose Via Quick-Fit Connection | When Movement is Detected, Sprinkler Shoots Water While Making a Clicking Noise, Scaring Animals Away From the Area
  • URABLE METAL STAKE- Metal Stake allows for easy ground placement and durability. UNIQUE "SPRINKLER ONLY" OPTION- Device can be used to simply sprinkler your garden when not in need of animal deterrence.

Repellents: Various commercial deer repellents are available that emit odors or tastes that deer find unpleasant. Apply these repellents around the perimeter of your potato plants. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product carefully. Alternatively, you can create your homemade repellents using ingredients like garlic or hot pepper.

Motion-Activated Ultrasonic: Install motion-activated ultrasonic devices near your potato plants. Deer are easily startled by sudden bright lights or loud noises, making them hesitant to approach the area. Some of these devices resemble deer predators or emit sounds that frighten deer.

Hausse Solar Fake Horned Owl Statue, Solar Powered Halloween Motion Activated Scarecrow Deterrent Owl with Red Eyes, Scary Sound Scare Birds Away for Garden Yard Outdoor
  • 2 Working Modes: Our bird repellent garden protector owl has motion sensor detector and 2 working modes to make the all living things leave the yard. Sensor working area is 3ft/1M (front). Mode 1: Turn the switch to ON1(Recommended for daytime use), the owl will make terrifying sound and flashing red eyes when a moving object passes by motion light sensor; Mode 2: Turn the switch to ON2(Recommended for use at night), the eyes will glowing red.
  • Solar powered: the scarecrow automatically absorbs solar energy through solar panels, at night the owl's eyes will be light automatically to scare away the animals like birds, pests, squirrel, raccoons, and more. Keep all pests and birds away effortlessly. Environmentally and wildlife friendly, get rid of birds and pests humanely without harming them. Each owl includes 3 x AA 600mAh NI-MH rechargeable battery.
  • Several Ways to Install: Just put the bird scare devices in a visible location such as a tree or shrub. The owl has anchor at the bottom and can be fixed on the stakes by screws (not included screws). Great for the garden, patio, or porch. Tips- Please turn the switch to ON1 Or ON2 before use. Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 7 x 6.7 inches.

Electric Fencing: An alternative to traditional fencing is an electric fence. This type of fence delivers a mild electric shock to deter deer from entering your potato garden. Electric fences are effective but require careful installation and maintenance to ensure proper functioning.

Alternatively, you can install a fence to protect your potatoes. Still, these must be very tall and are more expensive and difficult to install than the methods mentioned above. I prefer to use motion-activated sprinklers or a natural repellent to keep deer away from potatoes. Any of the above techniques will prevent deer from eating the potatoes.

Final Conclusions

So, do deer eat potatoes? Deer typically eat potatoes as a food source when alternative food options become scarce. Potatoes, particularly their leaves and stems, contain toxins that can poison deer. Consuming a significant number of potatoes can result in severe consequences for deer, including potential fatality or enduring prolonged discomfort and pain.

I recommend taking precautions when growing potatoes to prevent deer from eating your potato plants. If you are interested in knowing more about what types of plants deer eat, I recommend you read our articles:

Do Deer Eat Petunias? Are Petunias Deer Resistant?

Do Deer Eat Zinnias? Are Zinnias Deer Resistant?

About Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan is an agronomist horticulture founder of The Garden Style Company and The Garden Style Website. He previously worked for Mondelēz International as an Agronomist Engineer specializing in agricultural products management in highly populated areas. In 2000, Henry started working with farmer-producers in agricultural businesses selling wholesale fresh produce and retail plants in Van Buren, Arkansas. Nowadays, Henry lives in California, where he offers expert consulting services for organic vegetable gardening. As a science writer working with his wife, Julia, Henry shares his passion for gardening and farming, trying to reach and teach as many folks as possible.

Leave a Comment