Deer are among the largest of the common garden pests. They’re also carriers of deer ticks, and deer ticks carry Lyme disease. So, preventing deer from invading your space not only saves your precious landscape and garden plants, but it could be good for your health, too!
There are several ways to keep deer away.You can plant landscape and garden plants that aren’t attractive to deer. Like all mammals, they are attracted to vegetation that smells and tastes good. You can apply scents on or near your plants to deter deer. There are both natural and man-made chemical repellents available in powder, liquid, oil and solid forms. And, there are electronic devices that keep deer heading the opposite direction. Physical barriers, like fences and bushes, are a good defense, but it is not always practical to provide a physical barrier around a large piece of land. Sometimes, a combination of deterrents is your best bet. Plot Protector is both a physical barrier and a scent barrier that is primarily designed for use in protecting foraging plots until they’re fully established, and are ready to intentionally attract deer.
By using products that smell like the natural predators of deer, such as coyote and fox urine, they’ll want nothing to do with foraging on your plants. Other products work by just making your plants taste and smell rotten to deer, such as Liquid Fence and Plantskydd, which are available in several sizes. Using a foul-smelling deterrent has its downsides, though. Obviously, it’s tough for the person spraying the product to avoid the smell. And, they only work after the pest has tasted it, meaning you’ll lose a flower top or a few delicate hosta leaves before the foraging diner says Yuck! and moves on to your neighbor’s plant buffet.
Homemade liquid repellents can be a cost-saving and effective method, but they’re not always very efficient. Commercial products are carefully designed to be easy to apply, to adhere to plants, to be safe to use on edible gardens, and to be long-lasting, so the product doesn’t have to be reapplied after each rain. One of our favorites is Plantskydd, which repels deer, elk and rabbits. Liquid Fence’s scent is repulsive to both deer and rabbits.
Pre-mixed commercial products are always ready to use, so you won’t need to have a variety of ingredients on hand, and you don’t have to constantly mix smelly concoctions in your kitchen. Also, commercial products are safe for garden use, are tested and are proven to work!
Electronic devices like the Electronic Deer Repeller and the DeerChaser can keep deer away from a large area, with no smell and no mess. One downside is they need some type of power, either electric or battery. The Electronic Deer Repeller applies a shock to the curious animal’s nose when it’s approached, to train it to stay away. The DeerChaser uses sound and light to scare away approaching animals. Deer are skittish, so these devices work well, when they’re within sound and sight distance of the intruder.
Deer in the wild are lovely to look at, but when they’re trampling, invading and ingesting the plants you’ve worked hard to grow, they are a pest and a hassle. It takes only a small effort and investment to find the right deterrent to repel or repulse deer, and it’s well worth the effort, if it means saving your garden and greenery.