I cherish the memories of living in the Pennsylvania State Game Lands. Each morning for years, I had the pleasure of beginning my day, taking in the picturesque view of a family of deer drinking from our pond at the bottom of the yard.
Watching speckled fawns frolic and play was delightful. Then, before I knew it, their little legs grew sturdier and became two full-body bucks. As autumn arrived, hunting season also came, and I worried for them out there, but they always seemed to keep close to our home.
My dad found a solution to protect them (and us) during this time. He established a 10-way strategy that kept deer away from our garden and away from harm’s way while still allowing them access to areas where they felt safe around our property – like their water source.
Finally feeling confident that his strategy would work, we put it into action and watched with joy as nature flourished before us without any major issues. Read on to find out the ten effective ways.
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What’s Attracts Deers to Gardens?
Knowing the cause can help you reduce the problem. That’s the same case for deer too. To keep deer away from your garden, you need to understand what attracts deer to your garden. Red clover, chicory, and orchard grass are the most common plants attracting deer.
Some high-protein crops, such as peas, soybeans, turnips, alfalfa, sorghum, kale, or corn, are the favorite foods of these animals. Additionally, deer enjoy eating chestnuts and acorns for their nutritious nuts.
10 Effective Ways to Keep Deer Away
1. Put Up a Fence
Putting a fence around my garden has been one of the best decisions ever made. I invested in stakes to hold up wire fencing so I could easily take it down during the fall months if needed. It took me only a few minutes to pound each stake into the ground, about four feet apart, and zip-tie the fencing to them.
After everything was secure and in place, I left a small makeshift gate at one corner, making it easier to hop in and out without worrying about damaging the fence or my garden.
The fence is an important part of keeping pests away from destroying my plants and keeping my pets in my yard. It looks great too. Having a permanent fence also adds extra security when I’m not home.
Though putting it up takes some time and effort, it’s worth it for the peace of mind that comes with knowing that my garden is safe. My partner was delighted with how easy the process was, and now we enjoy gardening together even more.
2. Flowers and Herbs with Strong Scents
The scent of certain herbs and flowers can act as a powerful deterrent against deer entering your garden. Herbs like lavender, chives, mint, and marigold are great options. Not only do they work to discourage deer from entering the area, but their pungent aromas also help to mask the smell of delicious vegetables growing nearby, which could otherwise attract them further into your property.
When planting these more noticeably scented plants around the edges of your garden and property, it is important to remember that deer will pick up the smell on their fur, making them more noticeable if they wander into the area.
A strong scent such as lavender or mint will make it much harder for them to wander undiscovered through the woods seeking food sources. This makes it a considered choice for any gardener looking to keep their garden safe from deer predators.
3. Plant Large Tree
The concept of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is important to consider when it comes to deterring deer from accessing a garden. Installing tall, dense plants such as boxwoods or spruces around the property can act as a barrier that deer are unlikely to jump over.
It also blocks their line of sight, making them less likely to try and access the food inside the garden. Not seeing what’s on the other side helps prevent them from taking risks by wandering into unknown territory.
These plants won’t guarantee that deer will stay away completely, but they do play a role in keeping deer away more often than not. By ensuring their vision is blocked from any potentially appetizing snacks, you’re also preventing them from gaining knowledge about your garden that could lead to further visits in the future. They’ll simply move elsewhere where their view isn’t obscured and munch on whatever vegetation is accessible.
4. Use Prickly, Thorny, or Hairy Leaves
The first tactic to protect your garden from deer is choosing plants less likely to be eaten. Many commonly known hostas are deer favorites, but plenty of varieties are classified as “deer resistant.”
Fuzzy or hairy foliage especially is less appealing to deer, so rub the leaves of any given plant against your cheek prior to purchase, and if it doesn’t feel too scratchy, chances are the deer won’t be willing to eat it either. The most effective defense against deer browsing is not just choosing plants they don’t find tasty but also paying attention to when they’re most active in their search for food.
Lamb’s ear, barberries, and cleome are just some plants that work best for this type of protection due to their fuzzy textures that irritate deer as they brush up against them. If a certain area of your garden is twice as inviting for deer than others because of access points, planting such deterrents around these areas will increase the chance of keeping them at bay.
And there are plenty of other plants that deer do not like due to texture or smell – consider adding them to the mix to ensure maximum protection. Your local nursery should be able to provide more advice specific to your climate and local wildlife.
Wind chimes have become an increasingly popular tool for homeowners looking to keep out pesky fruit tree raiders. When hung from branches in large, small, and medium sizes, with metal and wooden varieties, wind chimes create unpredictable acoustic signals that confuse and scare away animals such as deer before they can do any damage.
For maximum effectiveness, the sound combinations should be varied regularly so that deer are not used to hearing one particular noise.
Another simple but effective defense against leaf-eaters is to tie helium-filled balloons on strings to the tree branches; these will move around ominously in the breeze, making an even more off-putting sound than just the wind chimes alone.
This method can also be coupled with various natural scents that deer dislike, such as mint and lavender oil, making it a reliable defense against unwelcome visitors throughout the year.
6. Switch It Up
One way to keep deer away from your lawn ornaments is by frequently rearranging them. Moving ornaments around occasionally will make it difficult for deer to get used to their presence because they will no longer recognize their familiar surroundings.
This strategy can also be used when introducing new elements into the garden. A pink flamingo or a couple of scarecrows placed sporadically in the garden give off different sounds, smells, and visual stimuli that can startle any unsuspecting deer.
So, when adding new lawn ornaments into your outdoor space, consider switching up their location every month or so – this way, you can make sure your critters stay far away while keeping your decorations safe and sound.
7. Extend Fido’s Time Outside
Having a dog as a pet is an excellent way to help manage deer activity in your yard. Dogs are natural predators, and their powerful sense of smell can detect approaching deer before they enter your property. Their scent and bark are natural deterrents, sending away any would-be intruders. Larger dogs may even be able to confront and ward off the animals if they get too close.
It is important to let Fido out as much as possible for maximum effectiveness. When gardening or spending time outdoors, Fido should be allowed to roam free within your yard in order to alert you should any deer wander into the perimeter of your property.
Additionally, playtime with the kids can be more enjoyable and safer when you know that Fido will act vigilantly if anything crosses his path. Keep in mind that when letting your dog outside for long periods of time, it is essential to ensure he has access to shade and plenty of water at all times.
8. Sprinkle Human Hair Around Plants
Scattering human hair around outdoor plants can be a surprisingly effective way of preventing deer from entering a garden. Human hair is naturally fragrant, and its scent repels deer who would approximately otherwise feed on your vegetation.
To create this natural repellent, simply ask your barber or hairdresser for some clippings – it should be free. After collecting the hair, you’ll need to sweep it up and then scatter it as you would mulch across your garden beds. An alternative method is to stuff the clippings into the pantyhose and fix them out of sight in various landscape parts.
9. Apply Deer Repellant Spray
Deer-resistant Sprays can be a great way to help keep deer from consuming your outdoor plants. Commercial products offer strong scents and bad tastes that make even the most stubborn grazers turn away. Applied regularly, these deterrents will help to protect hostas and other vegetation from deer encroachment.
Alternatively, you can experiment with homemade formulas that work as repellants. Recipes include egg, hot sauce, garlic, and clove oil mixtures that are all said to do the trick. Do some research and practice before ultimately making your decision; results will vary based on the type and size of the deer in your area. With judicious use of commercial or homemade solutions, though, there’s no reason why deer can’t be stopped from taking over your garden.
10. Shine The Garden
Deer are nocturnal creatures, meaning they primarily come out to forage for food at night. This can be a huge problem for unsuspecting homeowners whose gardens have become prized feasts for hungry deer. However, there is a solution to this common problem – installing motion-sensitive floodlights.
These devices provide an effective, albeit temporary, answer for homeowners looking to keep deer away from their gardens and yards. The bright lights will surprise any deer that approaches and will often cause them to freeze in their steps and flee the area quickly.
Over time they may learn to recognize the harmless beam of light, but it has proven effective at keeping them away on many occasions. With basic DIY knowledge and supplies from the local hardware store, setting up a system of floodlights is relatively easy.
Those uncomfortable with assembling their own system or wiring an electrical circuit can turn to online tutorials such as How to Install a Garage Floodlight for further guidance on installation techniques and step-by-step instructions.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
1. What Is The Best Thing To Repel Deer?
Bar soap is known to be the most effective deer repellent. The scent of the soap, whether unwrapped or wrapped, is said to deter deer from trees and large shrubs. Many people place soap bars around the perimeter of their property or garden areas at 10- to 15-foot intervals and attach them to stakes.
2. What Do Farmers Use To Repel Deer?
In order to repel deer, odor-based repellants are applied on or around plants that need protection. Putrescent egg solids are one of the most effective repellent substances for white-tailed deer. Others include ammonia soaps containing higher levels of fatty acids, predator urine, blood meals, human hair, and bar soap are examples of repellants that may help.
3. What Herbs Keep Deer Away?
Among the herbs rated highly for deer resistance are basil, Greek oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme. It has been found that deer stay away from these delicious herbs because the plant’s essential oils or foliage has a strong, pungent smell that deters them.
4. Is Neem A Deer Repellent?
Neem has been used for centuries as an effective insect repellent. Recently, researchers have studied the potential of neem oil to be used as a deer repellent. The results appear promising, but more research is needed before it can be widely accepted as a deer repellent.
5. What Food Do Deer Not Like?
Deer aren’t fond of stinky or strong-tasting plants, such as onions, garlic, leeks, chives, dill, mint, and fennel. Parsley and basil are deer-friendly herbs and spices that are somewhat resistant to deer. Deer are less attracted to fuzzy, prickly plants.
Deer is a beautiful thing to see from time to time; however, if you are a gardener, seeing deer in a garden can’t be a sweet dream for you. Using the above methods, you can easily keep deer away from your garden. So, what are you waiting for? Start using applying those methods and make your garden safe.