With spring really warming up we are seeing more deer in the garden. I actually see the doe bringing her young into my garden and teaching them what is good to eat. Are you tired of your plants looking like this?
There are a number of strategies that you can employ.
- A tall fence – This would be the best, but I still haven’t been able to afford it. The fence must be at least 6 feet tall to keep deer out.
- A big dog – This works, but the dog must be well trained. You don’t want them chasing the deer, especially if you do it outside of your property. Our dog is gone now, but we trained her to circle the edge of the property a few times a day and let the critters know she was there. Then even when the dog is in the house the deer become more wary…We really need to get another dog.
- Plant resistant plants – notice the word resistant…not that this is sure fire plan. They will taste almost anything. Deer love daylily and hosta. Here is a nice list of resistant plants from Cornell University.
- Another technique that I use that seems to help is the old over stimulation technique. I inter-plant (thickly) my nice plants that the deer like to eat with taller, less appealing plants. For example in my daylily border I have the nice yummy daylilies and other plants that they like in the front and or center of the garden. Along the back where the deer tend to enter I have a lot of tall prickly plants like rudbeckia and other tall natives. They will still come and nibble, but they usually try the tall stuff first and then go eat in the field when they don’t like what they are getting in their first few bites. It’s not fool proof but it helps.
- Try a repellent. There are commercial repellents available. The one that has worked the best for me is plantskydd. Here is a link to their website: http://www.plantskydd.com/ . This product was developed in Sweden. It contains no synthetic additives, is non-toxic and is not harmful to animals, plants or the environment. Its main ingredient is dried blood but it has ingredients that bind it to the plants so that it won’t wash off. Another bonus is it that is serves as a foliar fertilizer.
- If you would like to make your own here is a recipe that I have tried that seems to work. The eggs and oil help it stick to the plants to some extent but it is best reapplied after a rain.
Cathy’s Deer repellent
- 3 raw eggs
- 3 tbsp. hot sauce
- 3 tbsp. garlic juice
- 3 cups water
- 2 tbsp. cooking oil
- 2 tbsp. dish soap
- 1 bunch green onion tops
- 2 Beef bouillon cubes