In general, deer do not eat bamboo in the USA, however, there is still some discussion about this among bamboo growers. Here are some things to consider.
In my conversations with bamboo growers around the USA almost all say that when deer are in their groves the deer do not present a problem. However, a small minority of growers have said that if the local deer get a taste for bamboo, then they will eat the shoots.
There are wild stands of Golden Bamboo in West Lake Hills, Texas, which is overpopulated with deer, and the bamboo is not eaten.
Deer will eat almost any plants if they are hungry enough.
I recommend preventive fencing of any new bamboo planting for the first 2-3 years until the plant gets established, especially if the plants are small and there are any rabbits or squirrels in the area. Chicken wire two feet tall will keep out rabbits. Squirrels are more aggressive and can jump over a fence that short. Deer present more of a problem regarding fencing, but I have been told that they respond well to electrified fences.
If the plants are available to livestock (which will eat young bamboo) the bamboo is in more danger than they are from deer.
Let me know if you have other information to contribute!
Last updated by Webmaster April 4, 2005