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Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Getting Rid of Deer Naturally

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By Kristin Masters

Deer love to nibble on new undergrowth and delicate sprouts, including plants and blossoms in landscaping. Since deer prefer to stay near tree cover while feeding, home gardeners whose properties are adjacent to wooded areas often find their gardening efforts destroyed by hungry deer. But how do you stop deer from destroying your garden? Home gardeners have many natural options to deter deer from snacking on their plants and flowers.
  • Get Deer Out of Your Garden NaturallyCreate a spray of egg yolks and water, to spray on foliage. Remove the membrane around the egg yolk, and mix with water. The spray should be about 80% water, so that the sprayer will not be clogged. Reapply the spray once a month.

  • Other sprays are available commercially. These are usually pepper based, since deer find this flavor unpleasant. Both environmentally friendly and non-invasive, pepper deer sprays are a more pleasant alternative to egg spray.

  • Protect new landscaping or shoots with row covers and mesh cages. Be sure to secure these devices with tent stakes, or the deer may simply push them out of the way. They can be removed once plants have reached maturity, since they will no longer be tender and appetizing to grazing deer.

  • Select plants that deer like, and plant them at the edge of the yard. Deer love many attractive plants, including crabapple, dogwood, white cedar, burberry, viburnum, and burning bush. Deer will eat these plants, without coming further into the yard to munch on other landscaping.

  • In the yard, plant foliage that deer dislike, to discourage deer from eating landscaping. Deer dislike herbs like anise and chives, along with flowers like forget-me-nots, evening primrose, and creeping phlox.

  • Deer are easily started by noise and motion. Adding a moving water feature to your yard or garden could repel deer, and create a more beautiful and relaxing environment for your family and friends. The shishi odoshi, also called the wooden rocking fountain, is the perfect option.
  • Floodlights complement ultrasonic deer repellents, making a yard even less attractive at dusk and during the night, when deer are most active.
  • Install a motion-sensitive deer repellant system. Triggered by a deer’s intrusion, these devices emit ultrasonic sounds to repel deer. All-weather ultrasonic repellants often use AC power for continuous protection.

  • Line flower beds with human hair. Deer are turned off by the scent of potential predators, so they will avoid areas that carry a human scent.

  • Similarly, placing bloodmeal in mesh bags along the edge of the yard will also repel deer. The scent of the bloodmeal mimics that of animal carcasses, and makes deer think that there is a predator feeding nearby.

  • Let the dog out in the yard, especially in the morning and early evening. Be sure to use a leash or lead, to prevent the dog from chasing a brazen deer—or any other animal--off into the woods.

While deer can wreak havoc on home gardens and landscaping, it is possible to protect vegetation using safe and environmentally friendly tactics. By choosing the right plants and using natural repellents, home gardeners can protect their hard work from hungry deer.

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