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How can I keep deer out of my garden?

9 years ago

A compilation of suggestions from our readers:

I've had pretty good luck using bird netting. It's been especially good if I stretch it
over a pvc pipe framework (which I spray painted green to be less obvious). I use it
over some raised bed planters. I've watched the deer react to it from inside my house.
They apparently don't see as well as they hear and smell. They poke their nose into
the netting and it startles them and they shy away. Anything protruding through the
netting, of course gets trimmed off. It's fairly inexpensive but sort of a nuisance when
you want to work in the bed, since you have to roll it back out of the way. It also
keeps out the wild turkeys. But the gophers still come in from below. I lost an entire
bed of asparagus to gophers after keeping the deer out all season with the netting.

I've battled deer forever and these are
my tried and true working solutions to the
problem....My favorite is grating Ivory soap or Irish
Spring all around the items you need to protect. It's
good to do this before the deer establish their
trails in the very early spring. I also buy small
drawstring bags made of a loosely woven material
(from a local garden supply store) and fill them with
Milorganite (its a fertilizer with an odor that
repels deer). I hang these on the bushes and shrubs
the deer love to munch!

The scent of humans is repulsive to wild animals, or
scary as natural enemies, and marking your territory with your scent is a natural
deterent. It may be a bit unorthodox to have your husband use the garden as a toilet,
but you can accomplish the same thing by soaking rags in a bucket, and then ringing
your garden with the rags (using plastic gloves of course) and bury them at the outside
rim of your garden with some mulch.

Here's something that works great, is cheap and environmentaly safe - Mix one
slightly beaten egg with 1 quart of water and spray onto anything that the deer eat. You
have to re-apply this about every 4-5 days or after a rain but it really works! We've
tried many things - and we have a dog but the eggs work the best.

Here's what worked for me: coyote urine. They have all different types of urine drops
at Agway (and probably similar stores-find out what the local carnivore is and give it
a try. I also sprinkled my stuff with a ton of black and red pepper, garlic and curry
powder-nothing went near my tomatoes! Spray with a little water first so it sticks to
the leaves and such. You do have to redo it though-every time it rains.

I've been trying everything. Here's just a few: 1) Human hair clippings from your
local beauty shop sprinkled around the plants. 2) blood meal. 3) Moth ball flakes
sprinkled all around. These seem to work but eventually I let any of the treatments
lapse and the deer feast.

. One year we had a deer problem and after the first feasting in early spring wiping out
everything, we lined each bed with chives. It seemed to work and we had flowers the
rest of the year, but you have to stay on top
of the chives or they can take over the garden.... but when you weed the garden you
can just weed out some of the chives as well. (chives bloom adding a nice

Here's my list of plants that deer won't eat: for annuals use:ageratum,snapdragon,salvia,nicotiana,petunia,
alyssum,marigold,begonia. Do NOT use impatiens,geraniums,pansies.

For perennials, I have excellent luck with these:columbine,coreopsis,foxglove,aconitum,lavender,
salvia,nepeta,daffodils,hyacinth,rudbeckia,beebalm,babysbreath.Do not use hosta,daylily,any type of mum or
shasta daisy,obedient plant,echinacea.

*Note* Any native plants are high risk too, except for the poisonous plants. Deer proof
trees and bushes are hard to come by because the ones they don't eat can still be
damaged severely by a buck. For evergreens try Spruce,hemlock,Pieris,Leucothoe,and
boxwood. Do not use Yew,Arborvitae,pine,rhododendron,and azalea. There are more
deer proof plants out there. Actually alot more than people think. I just can't think of
them all at this time. Also, plan on using a deer repellant. I use an excellent one called
Deer-off. It is completely organic and is comprised of eggs,pepper,and garlic. It is
sprayed on the plants and lasts up to 3 months depending on rain and growth rate of
the plants. Keep this in mind when it comes to deer: Any plant in the herb family is
usually disliked. Any plant that is native is usually eaten with gusto! Any fruiting plant
like an apple tree, cherry, or berry bush will be devoured.
Hope this will get you started. I deal with deer on a daily basis so I am speaking from

I have excellent luck with; Dragons-eye pine, any ornamental grasses, butterfly bush,
caryoptoris, anything with really fuzzy leaves, any mints, asiatic lilies, barberry,
artimesia, gold thread juniper, trumpet vine, scotch broom, St. Johnswort and
contorted hazel.

Try Deeroff: Rutgers University ranked deeroff number 1
out of 35 repellents tested. Now labeled for rabbits
and squirrels.