One of the most common problems we hear from gardeners is that deer are eating their plants. Hungry deer are running out of natural, wild areas to live and eat, and that is a problem for everyone as we try to coexist with nature.
We grow a wide variety of different deer resistant plants, but the plant one gardener excitedly swears is “the only plant the deer won’t eat” is the only plant the deer do eat in another person’s yard. There is no plant that is one hundred percent deer proof. If a deer is hungry enough, it will eat anything. The same goes for the rest of these tips; your results may vary. A good rule of thumb is to incorporate a few tips, and to change up your strategy often to keep the deer on their toes.
Here are the ideas we have heard work for some gardeners:
Deer can smell more acutely than dogs, and they don’t like strong smells. Keep smelly, non-toxic things on the perimeter of your yard or near plants you want to save. Some strongly scented items that have been used with success:
• Irish Spring soap
• Fabric softener sheets
• Hot pepper spray
• Vicks Vaporub
• Herb plants such as lavender, rosemary, chives, etc.
• Commercial deer repellent products
Deer are fairly low on the food chain, so signs of other creatures including most things that move or make sounds scare them, as does pretty much anything out of the ordinary. Use this to your advantage. For example:
• Wind chimes
• Radio with static
• Ultrasonic noisemakers
• Motion-activated lights
• Motion-activated sprinkler
• Scattered human hair or animal fur
• Blood meal
• Dogs in your yard
Other things that deer can’t figure out and therefore usually avoid after encountering:
• Fishing line (run it taut in front of plants you want to save, at about knee level)
• Netting or plastic wrap around plants
• Uneven ground, steps, or multi-level decks
• Undoubtedly the best defense is a high fence (or a hedge of shrubbery that they are not interested in eating!).
Not all of these Ideas will work for everyone’s deer, and they may only work temporarily, so the smartest move is to use more than one solution and switch up your plan of attack frequently. They don’t want to keep guessing so they should move on. Let us know if you have any proven strategies to share with other gardeners and homeowners!