Best Trees To Plant That Deer Love!

You should plant trees that produce edible vegetation to encourage deer to your garden. You can choose to plant either soft mast or hard mast trees. Soft mast produces fleshy fruits such as pears and apples, while hard mast trees produce fruits with thick, hard shells such as acorns that squirrels love.

There are benefits to planting either in your garden if you seek to attract deer. Choosing the right trees for deer depends on what type of vegetation you currently have on your property, and the impact the tree will have on your landscape. Plant a variety of trees to attract deer to your garden.

The following tree species will work best to bring deer:

Wild Persimmon/ Diospyros virginiana

photo credit

The trees provide browsing and edge cover. The ripe fruits are very popular with deer. Persimmons ripen during deer season and thus become highly sought after by native deer. 

The tree produces fruits approximately six years after planting. You should not fertilize the tree to encourage fruit development as it may cause them to drop prematurely. Deer will browse its foliage and fruits throughout the year. 

  • The trees reach a height of 30-50ft and spread 20-35ft at full maturity. 
  • Grows well in full sun and well-drained acidic soils. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 5-9.

Honey Locust/ Gleditsia triacanthos

photo credit

The trees produce bean pods that are absolutely loved by deer. The tree stem and branches are thorny and the pods are highly conspicuous. The pods begin dropping in early spring and deer will go after them for food. 

You should plant the tree away from livestock as it is poisonous to several animal species.

  • The tree can reach a height of 30-40ft and spread 30-40ft at full maturity. 
  • The fruit ripens in early autumn. 
  • Requires full exposure to sunlight.
  • Grows well in sandy or loamy acidic soils. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 3-9. 

White Oak/ Quercus alba

Photo credit

This tree produces acorns which are preferred by deer because they are less acidic compared to red oak acorns. White Oak matures in around six months and produces fruits all year long.

The acorns begin falling at the beginning of deer season. You can plant various species including chestnut, swamp white, and overcup. 

Plant a variety of oaks to ensure the consistent availability of acorns each fall. The acorns are sweet and will drive deer traffic to your yard. 

  • Reaches a height of 50-80ft and spreads 50-80ft at full maturity. 
  • Grows best in well-drained, loamy acidic soils. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 3-9. 

Dunstan Chestnut/ Castanea dentata

This tree is very attractive to deer. They are the most popular chestnut tree in America, mainly due to their value to wildlife and resistance to blight. Chestnuts are preferable to deer compared to acorns because they are less acidic.

They are sweet and tasty and deer are naturally attracted to them. Chestnuts are high in carbohydrates and protein, which helps deer pack on energy and fat reserves before winter. Plant a minimum of 2 Dunstan chestnuts in your garden, to ensure efficient pollination. 

Chestnuts begin producing nuts 3-5 years after they are planted. After that, they will produce nuts annually. 

  • Dunstan chestnuts reach a height of 40-60ft and spread 30-40ft at full maturity. 
  • Blooms from May to June and drops nuts from September to October. 
  • Grows best in well-drained, sandy, or loamy soils.
  • Requires full sunlight to thrive. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 5-9. 

Southern Crabapple/ Malus angustifolia

photo credit

Apple trees are prevalent soft mast producers. They are a very popular food for whitetail deer. You can choose different varieties to grow depending on your region.

Ideally, you should grow different varieties that drop fruit at different times across the year. Southern crabapple is a tree native to the USA with beautiful pink apples which blossom in spring and red-green crabapples favored by deer during the fall. The trees produce colorful foliage in the fall.

Southern crabapple begins to bear fruit 3-5 years after planting. You should plant at least two to allow for cross-pollination. 

  • The tree drops fruits from September to December. 
  • Reaches a height of 15-20ft and spreads 10-15ft at full maturity. 
  • Grows well in well-drained, slightly acidic soils. 
  • Requires full sunlight. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 6-8. 

Pear trees

Pears can grow in several areas, with different varieties well adapted to the climatic zones and growing seasons.

Choose the pear variety that best fits your region. You can choose between Kieffer Pear, Baldwin pear, Flordahome pear, LeConte Pear or Spalding Pear for your garden.

Pear trees are heavy producers of soft mast fruits, which thrive during deer season. They generally take between 2-4 years after planting to begin bearing fruit. 

  • Thanksgiving pear trees reach a height of 20-30ft and spread 10-20ft at full maturity. 
  • They require full sunlight. 
  • The tree blooms from February to March and drops its fruit from October to December. 
  • Grows best in well-drained, sandy, acidic soils. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 5-9. 

American Beech/ Fagus grandifolia

american beech

This deciduous tree is native to the US and produces mast that is very popular with deer. It is slow-growing and therefore will take a long time to start producing fruit.

The beechnuts are a good source of food for deer and other wildlife. It has exceptional longevity and therefore is a reliable food provider for wildlife once it matures fully. It however needs plenty of space to grow well. 

  • The tree reaches a height of 50-70ft and spreads 40ft at full maturity. 
  • Requires full sunlight. 
  • Grows best in well-drained, acidic loamy soils. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 4-9. 


You can attract deer to your garden by planting a variety of trees that produce nuts and berries. Trees in your garden not only offer value to the wildlife but also make your garden visually interesting. Deer prefer soft mast trees that produce fruit throughout the year.

You should have a variety of trees in your lawn that offer nutritious fruits for local deer across all seasons. Pear trees, apple trees, chestnuts, beechnuts and persimmon among others offer good food sources for deer.

Do your research to ensure you plant the correct trees for deer native to your area. Further, ensure you have adequate space in your garden to accommodate a significant number of deer visitors.