Natural ways of repelling deer

by Caroline Brown

It's been a crazy-busy today and I'm only finding the opportunity to blog at the end of the day. Kim at Carolina Purl once asked me a question about repelling deer in a natural way and I had a few random suggestions. But today I got my first monthly newsletter from Gardener's Supply and it contains advice on naturally repelling deer, so I decided to share.

BTW, if you don't get the Gardener's Supply newsletter and you like gardening, it's worth it to subscribe. It's a good newsletter that links to very informative articles on their website. Of course their point is to sell more products, but if you can look beyond that, they have good advice and they're interested in sustainable, non-chemical solutions.

Their advice for repelling deer in a nutshell is:

1. Plant what the deer don't want.

If you've had trouble with deer, you already know the plants they love: cedar, yew, fruit trees, lilies, and hostas to name a few. Fortunately, there are some plants deer seem to dislike. These include most thorny plants and those with fuzzy or leathery leaves. They also seem to dislike lilac, forsythia, spirea, and potentilla. Other landscape plants they will generally avoid are paper birch, American holly, drooping leucothoe, Colorado blue spruce, and flowering dogwood.

However, I have been told that when deer are really, really hungry that they will eat anything, even plants that they're not supposed to like.

2. Repel the deer with smell and taste.

Sometimes deer need a little encouragement to stay away. Repellents discourage deer from feeding either because they have a bad taste or a noxious smell. Rotten eggs and garlic seem to be two of the most effective deterrents around.

I'm afraid that rotten eggs would keep ME out of the garden!

3. Frighten deer away.

Deer always need to be on the alert for predators (coyotes, wolves, dogs, people). So sudden, unexpected noises can send a deer running for cover.

The challenge is to keep deer from becoming accustomed to the noise. If you move the devices around to different places in your garden, the deer will stay confused and unnerved.

4. Create a physical barrier.

Fencing is the most permanent and reliable deer control solution. If you have a serious problem with deer, you'll save lots of heartache by making the investment in a sturdy fence around your yard or garden. Deer can jump very high, so an effective fence needs be at least 7 feet tall.

Read the whole article–it's informative, and maybe some of their products are useful too!

Image courtesy of Teachernet.

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8 Comments to “Natural ways of repelling deer”

  1. Just blog hopping. Great layout! Interesting posts! :)

  2. Thanks for posting this!! I’m still looking for Liquid Fence. I called the company and they told me that any ACE Hardware or True Value should have it. I just haven’t made it to any of those stores in Raleigh yet. Based on your post, now I’m thinking that maybe Jason and I could make some percussive instruments out of tin cans or something, and dangle them from posts, to keep it noisy. If the neighbors wouldn’t mind……

  3. A regular symphony! What about aluminmum pie pans on strings and windchimes? Gardeners Supply also has LF: http://www.gardeners.com/Liquid-Fence-Deer-Repellent-Spray/default/StandardCatalog.YardPests_DeerRabbits.16191.cpd
    And they have this other spray product with the unfortunate name of Shotgun
    http://www.gardeners.com/Deer-Repellent-Spray/default/StandardCatalog.YardPests_DeerRabbits.18476.cpd
    The Liquid Fence STINKS for sure. Some accidentally dripped on my face one time, GAG.

  4. Moth balls seem to work as well. They have a very strong and distinct odor. And to scare them away, we’ve tried “roman candles”…a firework usually sold around July 4th. You shoot them at the deer, doesn’t harm them, just scares the life outta them.

  5. I’ve heard that hanging Irish Spring soap around the garden helps, but I wonder if this is urban legend. Any help there?

  6. Plant lots of mint and sting them with a Red Ryder BB gun.

  7. Liquid Irish Spring soap in a spray bottle with water (4 or 5 tablespoons Irish spring to a quart of water) Will do the trick. I use it on anything that I do not want the deer to eat. This is NO urban legand. It works. For you “scare Crow” people out there, spray your scare Crow with this mix and he’ll be asking for a raise! Spray every 4 or days or after a rain. It’s inexpensive too!

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