Ask The Biologist

A Spoonful of Sugar

A Spoonful of Sugar

By Bob Humphrey

It might take your deer some time to start using a brassica plot.

QUESTION: I planted brassicas for the first time this year, and so far the deer have not touched them. They seem to be using our other plots but not the brassicas. Is there anything we can do to attract deer to these brassica plots?

ANSWER: I had a similar experience the first time I planted brassicas. While deer are pretty good at identifying what’s good for them, sometimes they need to learn a new food they are not familiar with.

Climate also could be a factor. It’s not uncommon for deer to overlook brassicas early in the season when it’s still warm. Once the first hard frosts hit, the starches in brassicas turn to sugar, and plants become more palatable to deer. Don’t be surprised if you visit your brassica plots one day after a hard frost and it’s been literally mowed down by deer.

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