“Bambi, Get out of my garden or I’m calling a hunter!”
Why Deer are Trouble for Your Garden
Deer are beautiful creatures and are great to look at from a distance. The trouble is that when they get onto your property they can cause a lot of damage so it’s important to know how to keep deer out of your garden.
Opportunistic deer will eat away at many annuals, perennials and shrubs that we plant in our gardens. Grazing deer can pull up your bulbs that you planted in the fall before they even come to life in the spring. Deer can damage trees by rubbing their antlers on the trunks in the late fall or early winter.
You can easily recognize deer damage by a torn appearance on the stems of the vegetation they’ve eaten. Other rodents have upper incisors so they will leave a clean cut surface.
Most of us don’t want to resort to the most effective and permanent solution to having too many deer in our yard if there may be other options available. The method(s) you choose depends on the severity of the problem, the size of the area that needs protection, and which ones you may have tried already.
The most effective and accordingly, the most expensive methods are electric and 10 feet tall fencing.
The only application feasible for the electric fencing is for a vegetable or ornamental garden that is of limited size. A transformer, wire and posts are all the equipment you need. If you have small children or pets, this is probably not the solution for you.
The ten foot tall fence is very expensive, which makes it an extreme option also. Not only is it expensive, but probably not allowed in most residential areas. So let’s check out some other options to keep deer out of your garden.
Sound & Infrared Devices
Deer Repeller Pro is an electronic device that runs on 4 “C” batteries or 110V, that emits very high pitched, high pressure sound waves that are “incredibly uncomfortable and annoying to deer”. I’m not sure how Fido would like hearing this device, but if you’re not a dog owner, this solution sounds interesting. It covers an oval area of 4,000 square feet. That would cover just about anybody’s vegetable garden!
A similar device, The Guardian, uses infrared detection to detect pest animals and blast them with an array of ultrasonic sound, audible sound and/or predator calls. This one covers an area of 6,000 square feet. The technology of some of these products is amazing.
One of the most popular approaches to keep deer out of your garden has been through their sensitive nose. Some of the most used products are:
- Plantskydd – a Swedish formula that mimics the odors associated with predators
- Bobbex - an egg based repellant
- Deer-Off - a concoction of rotten eggs, capsaicin, and garlic
- Liquid Fence - a scent based product with no mention of ingredients (must be secret)
- Shake-Away – a coyote urine based product
- Deer No-No – a citrus based product.
Deer Resistant Plants
The simplest theory is that if you don’t want Bambi visiting your yard, don’t send her an invitation to come over. Deer resistant perennials and deer resistant annuals are widely available. In fact, nearly every nursery will identify their plants that deer aren’t likely to eat. This is not a guarantee, because just like when you’re hungry and you’ll eat whatever is quick and easy, so will the deer when their food supply is scare.
Deer can be very opportunistic when it comes to their taste for ornamentals. So when one of our clients want to add some enhancements to their property Dowco knows to use plants that are not on the deer’s “favorites” list.
What Will You Choose to Keep Deer Out of Your Garden?
These are only a few of the myriad of products on the market that vary by their longevity, mode of action, and price. At Dowco Enterprises, the majority of our customers face varying degrees of deer pressure. Our client managers and field technicians can recognize recent deer browsing to notify our homeowners and suggest a deer control product for them.
So don’t lose your cool and pull out a gun until you’ve exhausted all of the possibilities - that is, unless you like a good venison steak!
Learn more about deer and their habits in St. Louis.
Questions? Comments? We'd love to hear them. Let us know!