Deer can wreak havoc on gardens and landscapes, especially when food is scarce. Their voracious appetites drive them to feed on plants we'd prefer them to avoid. Protecting vegetation from deer invasion seems an impossible task, but with commitment and thoughtful planning, you can deter Bambi and friends.
Evaluate Your Landscape for Vulnerabilities
The first step entails surveying your landscape to identify plants deer favor. Take notes through the seasons since deer tastes change. Plants naturally unappealing like lavender or deer-resistant plants like barberry may get devoured in desperation.
Once aware of favorite deer foods, scrutinize your layout. Are these plants isolated, making them easy targets? Are there hiding spots nearby where deer go undisturbed? Make changes addressing these weaknesses.
Select Deer-Deterring Ornamentals
When establishing new gardens, focus first on less-favored trees and shrubs. Some proven selections include:
- Barberry - Dense thorns frustrate deer.
- Beebalm - Distasteful to deer.
- Daffodil - Most ignore these cheery spring blooms.
- Lavender - Strong scent deters deer.
- Bee Balm - The odor and taste deter deer.
- Butterfly Bush - Deer don't prefer these.
- Rosemary - Deer dislike the strong scent.
Check with your local nursery for other deer-resistant options suitable for your region.
Use Physical Barriers
When you cannot avoid plants that tempt deer, protect them. Install fencing designed specifically to foil deer. While not foolproof, high tensile wire or mesh fencing provides a barrier. Use at least 8-feet tall fencing secured to sturdy posts.
Individual tree guards also deter deer from nibbling on tender bark and killing trees. Commercial guards come in plastic and metal. For small trees, place chicken wire cylinders around trunks and lower branches.
Apply Homemade Organic Repellents
Concoct smelly solutions making plants unpalatable to deer. Most include eggs, hot peppers, garlic, soap, and other ingredients. Apply these liberally throughout the yard. Reapply after heavy rains.
Hang soap bars and mesh bags of human hair from branches. The scent of humans frightens deer away. Strands of cotton balls with repellents also work. Position them near plants at deer height. The unpleasant smell when touched irritates sensitive deer noses.
Use Commercial Repellents
Effective commercial deterrents utilize smelly substances tending to turn deer away. Long-lasting formulas stick to plants even in bad weather. Apply these liberally throughout vulnerable areas.
Popular kinds include:
- Deer Out - Contain garlic, eggs, and pepper.
- Liquid Fence - Rotten eggs make it stinky.
- Deer Scram - Claims 6-month protection.
Follow product instructions carefully. Reapply as directed. Concentrate on known deer paths and feeding areas.
Employ Scare Tactics
Deer easily get used to most deterrents, so keep them on their toes. Install scare devices activating sporadically with quick movements and loud noises. Sprinklers, radios, aluminum pans banging, and recorded sounds stress deer.
Upgrade to motion-activated tools triggering sounds and lights. Place these near favored feeding zones for best effects. Shift locations routinely so deer don't catch on.
Deer can rapidly devastate gardens and landscapes. Stay alert to seasonal changes and tweak your deer defense plan accordingly. Consistently apply diverse tactics to keep Bambi guessing. Protect young trees and those deer find irresistible.
With knowledge of deer behavior, attention to detail, and employing layered deterrents, you can defend your yard. Patrol often and jump on problems immediately. Respond quickly to damage and alter your strategy. Stay one step ahead for deer-free greenery.
Protect Your Investment
Gardens and landscaping require significant investments of money, time, and effort. Keep your hard work safe from destruction by motivating deer to move on. Combining deer-resistant plants, barriers, repellents, and scare tactics discourages grazing. Stop deer before they take their first bite. Remain vigilant and persistent for the most effective deterrent combinations long-term. The hassle pays off when you can relax and enjoy lush, deer-free greenery.