What do you do about deer in the garden? Over the years, the deer population has skyrocketed, and deer have your yards in their sights all year long looking for anything they can eat for survival. They use your garden as a buffet and can completely decimate and wreak havoc in a garden. There are all different kinds of things that you can do to dissuade and deter these graceful garden munchers away from your prized plants. These are the top 5 ways that we’ve found to stop deer from eating plants.
Choose Deer Resistant Garden Plants
One of the best ways to keep your garden from being eaten by deer is to fill it with deer-resistant plants so that they will avoid your yard altogether. Some of the best perennial plants that discourage hungry deer are Boxwood, Russian sage, ornamental grasses, black-eyed susan, bellflower, catmint, ferns, iris, lamb’s ear, lupine, and salvia.
Unfortunately, vegetables are not on that list, and vegetable gardens are pretty much a salad bar for deer to graze on. So, you’ll have to outsmart the hungry specimens with some of the methods below.
Put up a Deer Fence Around your Garden or Yard
The most effective technique for deterring deer is to install a fence around the garden or yard. The trick is that any old fence will not do, as deer are known for their ability to jump rather high. The ideal barrier to keep deer out should be approximately 7-8 feet in height. For garden access to the garden, installing a gate is also important, but don’t forget to keep the entrances to your garden closed.
Scare Deer Away
Scare deer away from your garden in a variety of different ways. If you have a dog in the yard, allow the faithful companion to roam around the garden with you. Dogs will spread their scent around the garden, which will act as a natural deterrent for grazing deer. If dogs are outside, their bark alone will be enough to startle them so that they will move on.
Consider getting a motion-activated device like a floodlight that will engage when deer come close to your garden. Wooden wind chimes or hanging tin pie plates throughout the garden bed will also work to disrupt the path of deer with startling noises.
Scatter Human Hair Clippings around the Edges of the Garden
Have you had a recent haircut? Save the clippings and spread them around the border of your garden bed. Deer will smell the hair and equate it with the smell of humans, and they will stay away from the area where they perceive that humans are present.
Deter Deer with Odors
Deer have a very keen sense of smell, so use that as an opportunity to use it to your advantage. One effective way of keeping deer away from your garden is through the use of heavily scented products. The most popular deterrents are bars of deodorant soap. Simply take several bars of soap, punch a hole in each one, and use twine to hang the bars of soap from the trees and fencing around your garden. Deer will smell the soap and steer clear of your crops.
There are many other deer deterrents that also rely on odor, and their overall effectiveness can depend on how long it takes the grazers to get used to the new scents. It is not out of the ordinary for these techniques to only be temporarily effective deterrents, so you will have to be vigilant and switch things up every few days to outsmart them. Some of these deterrents include spreading things like bloodmeal, decaying fish heads, and garlic around your garden plants.
There are also some varieties of organic deer repellent that you can purchase from your local nursery. Be sure that you are using only a natural variation and make sure that it is safe to use around edible plantings. These repellents also rely on odors to repel deer from eating plants.
Use a Variety of Methods
Overall, hungry deer are adaptable, resourceful, and relentless, so there is no guarantee that they will avoid your garden entirely with any one method alone. Combine methods and change things up from time to time to catch deer off guard and to most effectively preventing them from decimating your garden. Choose plants that deer don’t favor, put up a fence, use scare tactics, odors, and other deterrents to give yourself the best chance at keeping their grazing on your plants at bay.