Deer are some of the most difficult animals to repel from your garden. Deer love to feed on a variety of food sources, such as grass, fruits, vegetables, tree bark and leaves. Deer will treat your carefully tended garden as their own private buffet, leaving you frustrated. There are several ways to repel deer and keep these hungry beasts from destroying your garden.
The best way to repel deer is to build a fence around your garden to keep them from entering. Make sure the fence is at least six feet high, as deer are excellent jumpers and will simply step or jump over a shorter fence. Make sure to include the entire perimeter of your garden within your fenced-off area, leaving no seams or cracks that can be nudged open by the offending deer.
Deer are repelled by certain fragrances and will head in the opposite direction if they smell them. Smells such as soap, ammonia, raw eggs and fish go a long way in warding off these trespassers. Sprinkle soap shavings in your yard, or around the perimeter of your garden. Plant small garlic bulbs around your garden. Garlic emits a strong odor that deer hate, and will run away from.
Spray ammonia on trees and bushes to drive the deer back into the woods. The one downside to this is that the smell is offensive to humans as well, and may repel your guests from attending your backyard barbeque. Raw egg is a very effective deterrent to deer, but keep in mind that the smell of eggs can draw rats into your yard.
In addition, there are commercial sprays that you can purchase at most gardening stores that will create a barrier around your garden that repels deer. These sprays have been known to deter other small animals as well. These sprays are reported to be highly effective and last for up to 30 days.
The Human Touch
Deer are afraid of humans. Adding human elements to your garden can go a long way in keeping deer out. Tune a radio to a talk station and allow it to play continuously in your yard. Gather some of your old clothing and fashion a scarecrow to stand guard while you’re away. After your next haircut, save your hair shavings. Place them in small pouches and hang the clippings and shavings from trees. The smell will convince deer that a human is always nearby.
Other helpful devices that frighten away deer include pie pans tied to trees. The shiny, reflective surface will scare deer, as well as the movement from the pan swaying in the wind. Some people swear by wind chimes as the best way to convince a deer that humans are lurking nearby. The deer will turn elsewhere for their next meal.
Many gardeners find that placing chicken wire around their garden is an effective way to repel deer from their precious plantings. The wire creates a sharp surface that entangle the deer’s feet when stepped on. Deer will soon learn that stepping into your garden is akin to walking into a minefield, and they will turn elsewhere for their dinnertime dining.
Although they appear gentle and harmless, deer can do extensive damage to your well-tended garden. In a matter of days or hours, they can devour gardens that took months to plant. Deer eat a variety of foods, and will turn your yard into a smorgasbord. Finding new and innovative ways to repel them keeps you one step ahead of these greedy creatures, and allows you to enjoy a garden free of unwanted guests.
Neil Wardlow has been writing professionally since 1989. Neil discovered he enjoyed writing when he suffered an injury during his 15-year building construction career. Neil now writes full-time, whenever he’s not occupied with entertaining family and friends, growing things, or making repairs in and around his beautiful ranch house.