Protect Flowers from Deer


Posted by deer resistant gardener | Posted in Deer Deterrents | Posted on 09-02-2010

Barriers are the most straightforward and many say the most effective deterrents. The strategy is to make it impossible for the critter to get to his dinner.

Deer Barrier with fritillaria

For deer, a fence is the best deterrent — a high one. A deer fence should be at least seven and a half feet high, and an additional overhang of chicken wire is a good idea. The most effective deer fe

nce is a double fence. Deer can either jump something very high, or something very wide, but can’t do both at once. Two fences (one high and one moderately high) spaced about three feet apart are recommended. (Don’t worry, the deer see two fences and don’t jump, so they don’t get caught inside.)

Chicken wire is another favorite barrier material. This can be used to form a cage over young plants, or an underground cage in which to protect bulbs from burrowers. It’s perfectly acceptable to place a sheet of chicken wire right on top of the planting. The bulbs will be smart enough to find their way right through it.

Some people take a casual (but very effective) approach when protecting bulbs from squirrels: they just throw on an old window screen after planting and take it up once the ground has settled or frozen.

Home made deer deterrents


Posted by deer resistant gardener | Posted in Deer Deterrents | Posted on 01-02-2010

  1. Plant time-released garlic capsules at the bases of trees or shrubs.
  2. Wrap bars of “gold Dial deodorant soap” in cheesecloth. Hang bars at intervals of 4 feet apart and 4 feet above the ground.
  3. Egg spray: mix 5-6 raw eggs in 1 gallon of water and spray. This will cover approximately 17,00 sq. feet. The smell of decomposing eggs keep the deer away while being too faint a dilution for humans to detect. The U.S. Forest service has used this for years. Also including some antitranspirant in this mix will extend the benefits. An alternative is to use wettable sulfur which gives off that rotten egg smell. Mix according to directions and spray as a barrier.
  4. Hot sauce spray: Mix 1-2 tsp. of Tabasco sauce and 2 tsp. of antitranspirant in 1 gallon of water. Spray. Must be reapplied after rain.
  5. Try putting pallets flat on the ground around your garden. Deer usually will not walk on or jump over these. Usually your local newspaper is a good source for free pallets.
  6. Hang fabric softener sheets in and around areas to be protected. Replace after several rains.
  7. Mix a gallon bucket of clay soil and water with cayenne or any hot pepper and garlic. Paint this on trunks of trees and stems of shrubs. This will not harm the plants.
  8. Hang deodorant type soap every 4 feet or so from your trees’ branches. Keep them at a height of 30″. One warning: ground hogs like the soap.
  9. Coyote urine which is available commercially has been reported to be effective as a deer repellant. We have had quite a few people write in to the contrary that predators urine scents don’t seem to work at all.
  10. We have been told that deer will avoid Russian Sage like the plague. Russian sage is certainly a beautiful perennial and worth a try! Bees love it.
  11. To keep deer from bulb plants- soak them in Alum water before planting.

Keeping deer away from flowers with Human Hair


Posted by deer resistant gardener | Posted in Deer Deterrents | Posted on 09-01-2010

Scattering clippings of human hair around the place (not always a good idea in urban settings, where squirrels may associate the smell of a human with food hand-outs).  Typically you can can all the human hair you want from a local barber, or even from your husbands weekly facial shave!
Predator smells, such as lion’s dung or urine from the zoo, commercially available predator scents, or even human urine (there’s a guy out there who swears by it, but we didn’t visit his garden to confirm).

Of course with all the fencing and caging, some people think the whole thing is too much, turning the garden into an outdoor Alcatraz. So what else is there?

Sensory deterrents seek to dissuade the unwanted garden diner by offending his sense of smell or taste or exciting his sense of fear and caution.

The use of cayenne pepper and such sprinkled protectively on the ground is one method some people say works. But others point out that this method is exceedingly cruel. Squirrels, for example, can easily get the pepper in their eyes while trying to rid themselves of the noxious stuff. Squirrels have been known to scratch out their own eyes in the process.

Well it’s hard to hate a squirrel that much. So other sensory alternatives are in order, ones suitable for squirrels, other small creatures and, of course, deer. These include:

Egg mixtures, either the commercially available kind, or made up in your own kitchen. The idea is, well, rotten eggs. You get the idea.
Irish Spring soap (Why this brand? Who knows?) hung in little mesh bags around the edges of the garden.

All of the sensory deterrents have their champions and their detractors. Some swear by this one or that one, some say they’re all a bust. Often what works in one garden, doesn’t in another. Experimentation is the key — and certainly worth a try.

Vegetative Deterrents


Posted by deer resistant gardener | Posted in Deer Deterrents | Posted on 09-12-2009

The idea behind vegetative deterrents is to surround the plants your nocturnal visitors like to eat with ones they don’t or find repellent.

Deer, for example, don’t like thorny things. They also don’t eat anemones, astilbes, junipers, foxgloves, daffodils, ferns, grasses and a whole host of things. In fact there are enough things that deer don’t eat that you could build a cordon around your garden. Sort of a garden within a garden.

Fritillaria imperialis is also something deer don’t like and its strong skunky scent is repellent to many other creatures as well, including some humans.
Squirrels and other small creatures won’t eat daffodils or other narcissi bulbs. These are good choices where pests are a problem.

Deter deer with pets


Posted by deer resistant gardener | Posted in Deer Deterrents | Posted on 11-11-2009

One could get very imaginative on the subject of animaldeterrents, but why not just get a big dog? We’re not suggesting a “pit bull” or anattack dog. Just a big, frisky fellow with a loud bark. The idea is to scare the deer, not hurt them.The animal shelters are full of good candidates, who in return for your love and care will bark their heads off in defense of your vegetation.

Be advised that the dog should be in a fenced in back yard, or leashed on a line run. Many cities and towns have leash laws which require this, but it’s a good idea anyway. Domestic dogs that roam free have been known to revert to their primal instincts and to attack and kill lame deer and fawns. As for guarding your garden, it’s a case where the bark is better than the bite – even a dog barking from the back porch will do the trick.