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Deer eating Ilex 'Blue Princess' holly berries?

2 months ago

I planted two Ilex 'Blue Princess' and one Ilex 'Blue Prince' some years ago just for Christmas decorations. They have been very slow to produce berries but last year and this I had a pretty good crop. Both years, after checking the berries in mid-fall, by late November the twigs and small branches bearing them were snapped off. I just went outdoors, hoping for an armload of holly and--nothing.

The shrubs are invisible to anyone, including me, and face the woods. No neighbor can see them or would ever do this even if they could see them.

It's not just the berries that are gone but the twigs that bore them. They are not cleanly cut off--ends are ragged. But the three shrubs are otherwise untouched. I do have lots of deer but why would they eat just the berries and not any of the rest of the shrubs. This is a real mystery. The damage is from top to bottom and the shrubs are pushing six feet tall now. Anyone have any experience with this?

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