Deer are an integral part of nature, but they can become an annoyance in vegetable gardens. Luckily, there are ways to deter them.
Fencing can be the most effective means of controlling wildlife, however in some areas this is impractical and/or costly. Other methods may include scare tactics, odors and physical barriers as effective tools.
If you have ever owned a vegetable garden or fruit trees, deer can quickly become attracted to your hard work and feast upon it. They enjoy snacking on any edible plants such as tulips, roses and pansies as well as dogwood trees, English ivy vines pine needles or hosta leaves – and can quickly destroy an otherwise beautiful scene!
But if you are determined to protect your fruits and vegetables from deer nibblings, there are steps you can take. One effective solution is using a fence as protection.
Deer are usually kept out of your garden by installing an inexpensive wire mesh or plastic netting fence around its perimeter, although for added security you could add electrified wire strands around its edge to dissuade raccoons from entering it.
Alternately, you could erect a seven-foot high vertical fence around your garden as another means to deter deer, rabbits and other animals that might harm ornamental plants from entering it. This type of fencing provides excellent protection from deer and rabbits as well as any other animals which might threaten it.
When installing a new fence, be sure to choose a sturdy model which will stand the test of time and prevent costly replacement expenses in case deer or rabbits damage it. Doing this will also protect you from replacement costs incurred should deer or rabbits break through and find their way in!
To make a fence more effective, slant it at 45-degree angles in the direction of where deer are likely to come. Because deer are known to jump over fences, you’ll have to ensure your fencing fits snugly between post stakes to stop it from being leapt over by deer.
If your budget is limited, plastic netting hung from metal T-bar posts may be an economical alternative to creating a fence. But its appearance must still be attractive!
An alternative solution would be a tall raised bed or vertical gardening set-up that makes climbing difficult for deer. You can stack boxes or crates at different levels to form barriers against deer access.
An electric fence may provide more permanent solutions, and is particularly effective on larger acreages with high deer populations. Unfortunately, however, electric fences can be expensive to run and require ongoing maintenance costs; furthermore they do not work effectively around children or animals.
If deer are frequenting your vegetable garden, there are various strategies you could employ to deter them. One option includes planting cover crops around them to protect them.
This strategy can be particularly effective for higher crops like lettuce, squash and bush beans; however, it should not be chosen for fruiting varieties.
Another strategy is to build a fence around your garden to keep out deer. Although this can be costly, this method can prove effective at keeping them away.
For deer control purposes, a high, solid barrier that stands no lower than eight feet high would be optimal. This will deter deer from jumping over it which could prove potentially hazardous.
Make sure that the fence extends out from your garden without blocking other areas you wish to cultivate and won’t allow deer into your vegetables by digging through. This will also prevent them from digging their way in!
Deer are attracted to plants that are toxic for them, such as daffodils, lilacs and yarrow. Other plants which deter deer include herbs, hydrangeas and roses as well as marigolds, peonies and cosmos flowers.
Hedgerows can serve as an effective border for smaller gardens. Hedgerows with thick branches make it hard for deer to cross them and may prevent them from eating your plants.
Hedges can also add value to your garden, as they prevent weeds from ruining it. They also add organic matter that increases soil nutrients levels in your soil.
Farmers have discovered that cover crops are an effective way to increase nitrogen in their soil. Cover crops have the ability to draw nitrogen out of the air and fix it into their roots, making the next crop you plant thrive even more easily in your soil.
However, floating row covers can provide extra protection against rabbits or groundhogs who might dig through them to get to your garden. Protecting vegetables from these animals with floating row covers is another excellent way of safeguarding them against destruction.
Deer are an insidious garden pest that can quickly ruin a harvest, devouring everything from fruits and vegetables, causing rot and disease, spreading parasites harmful to livestock, as well as dropping ticks that may spread illness to humans.
Deer are one of the biggest threats to vegetable gardens, so fencing and repellents may provide effective ways of keeping them at bay. Fences may be costly but offer long-term protection.
Build a high, solid fence around your garden – at least eight feet high to deter deer from jumping over it – as this will keep them at bay.
Burying your fence deep underground may also help deter animals such as skunks and rabbits from trying to dig under it.
Hang tin pie plates throughout your garden to generate loud noise and scare off deer. Wooden wind chimes may also work to distract deer as they enter and exit your yard.
One way to repel deer from entering your garden is with a motion-activated device that sprays water when it detects them near it. These devices are readily available at many hardware stores and should be regularly maintained if used regularly.
Dogs can help to deter deer from roaming freely in your yard and garden by emitting their distinctive scent that deer are unfamiliar with, prompting them to flee if they come upon one in your garden.
Deer are known to eat plants such as lavender, mint chives and garlic; thus providing another way to protect your garden from deer eating it.
If you want to prevent deer from visiting your vegetable garden, applying contact repellent to its leaves and stems is one way to do it. These chemicals contain pungent substances which deer dislike; providing an affordable way of protecting flowers or veggies.
Contact repellents are easy to apply and can be applied directly onto the leaves or near them of plants or hanging baskets. An area repellent may also be applied around them.
Deer can be an ongoing nuisance to gardeners in rural and suburban areas alike, especially during fall when temperatures cool and deer become hungry enough to stockpile food supplies. They are natural grazers who can quickly overgraze your vegetable plot; therefore it is imperative that all possible efforts are taken to prevent their entry.
Deer are attracted by scents like garlic, putrescent egg, cayenne pepper and predator urine; therefore these scents should help deer stay out of your garden.
Strong-smelling or flavoring plants like garlic, onions and hot peppers can serve as effective repellents against mosquitoes. You could also try planting shrubs or bushes with prickly foliage around the edge of your garden as these also act as natural deterrents against mosquitoes.
Also, plants with thick or leathery leaves and fuzzy, bristly textures such as roses, azaleas and daffodils can serve as effective deterrents against insects.
Permanent solutions may include perimeter fencing as a more permanent way of keeping deer away from your garden. At least 8 feet high, and decorated with white cloth hanging four feet up every 12 feet should do just the trick in alerting deer of its presence.
If you don’t wish to fence in your entire garden, use netting or black plastic mesh as individual protection for individual trees and plants. Trunk wraps, similar to protective cages, may also help deer avoid young trees and bushes.
Applying a solution of 50 parts water to one part soap as a homemade repellent against deer is an effective solution. Hanging bars of soap on stakes may also provide an effective form of deterrence.
Commercial repellent products can also be effective. These may include liquids that make plants taste unpleasant to deer, as well as repellents with ingredients that smell unpleasant such as dried blood or predator urine.
Deterring deer from your garden requires various strategies and approaches, which is why it is wise to employ various approaches over time to successfully prevent their grazing on your prized produce. Keep in mind, however, that hungry deer are resilient creatures capable of adapting quickly so no single method may prove successful long-term.