Many people love to see deer visit near their home, unless they are trying to grow a garden. Deer will eat through all of your harvest before you know it. This is a guide to keeping deer out of your garden.
I've tried everything I've ever heard of to keep deer away from my plants. I finally found the only solution. Here's the recipe:
Whip up a raw egg and a cup of water in the blender. Pour that into a pistol grip one-quart spray bottle. Fill to the top with water, adding 1 tsp. dish soap. Set in the hot sun till putrified (about 3 days), and give a little squirt to those plants they love to eat. It doesn't take much either, just a small squirt. They absolutely hate it. But you must reapply after a rain. However, you will see your plants grow to fruition.
Source: I read some of the ingredients on a $17 bottle of deterrent at a hardware store and recognized albumen as referring to egg,so I invented my own $.10 version. The soap helps it stick to the plants.
By Anne from Green Bay, WI
I'm going to pass this on to my friend and former neighbor. I had to move due to financial crises, but she still has her beautiful gardens in the mountains where the deer just love the plants and veggies! She had a big problem with them last year, couldn't find anything to keep them away, even having the dogs posted outside didn't help! As said Litter Glitter, I'll try to keep tabs on Beth's results and report back. Thanks Ann, and good luck to us all!
This recipe definitely does work as I have been using it for several years.
The fence provides perhaps the best physical means of protection against deer damage. To keep deer out, the fence must be at least 8 feet tall. Deer can usually easily jump any fence less than 8 feet if they need to.
Like many wildlife, deer and rabbits have become extremely adaptable to living within human environments. Unfortunately, when searching for food they can quickly lay waste to vegetable and flower gardens. Although physical barriers like walls and fences are the most effective means to keeping them out of your garden, they are not always a practical or affordable solution.
"Scent fences" can be a practical alternative - especially when local deer and rabbit populations have plenty of other places to go in search of food.
Of the dozens of home and commercial remedies routinely tested by gardeners, the following seem to be the most effective:
Cat Litter: Create a scent fence with used cat litter by sprinkling it on the lawn and around ornamentals. Replace weekly or after heavy rains. Used cat litter will also help repel moles and gophers when dumped into active burrows.
Use caution when handling and distributing litter: Cat feces may contain toxoplasmosis parasites, which can infect humans. Do not use litter around edible plants. If you can't stand the thought of digging cat litter into bare soil, put small amounts into the bottoms of coffee cans that have several holes punches in their sides and set them around your garden.
Hair: A lot of gardeners have successfully kept deer and rabbits away by hanging human or dog hair from trees or by spreading it in loose clumps around their landscape. To hang it from trees, use mesh bags with a 1/8 inch or smaller mesh, and place two large handfuls of hair in each bag. Hang the bags at a height of about 4 feet and spaced no more than 3 feet apart.
You can also spread wads of loose hair near the base of vulnerable plants. A scent fence of hair works best if you replace the hair at least once a week. Contact local barbers and groomers - most will be more than happy to help out.
Deodorant Soap: String bars of deodorant soap on wire and hang them on the branches of the trees or shrubs that need protecting. Space them no farther than 3 feet apart and try to hang them at deer-nose level (about 4 feet). Hint: If you leave the bar soap in their packages they will last a bit longer.
For repelling deer and rabbits from individual plants, try scented dryer sheets. Cut them into strips about an inch wide and tie the strips on the plants you want to protect. Deer especially, do not like the smell and tend to stay away.
Rotten Eggs: Another effective scent fence can be made from a rotting egg spray. Yes, it's stinky. Fortunately, the deer and rabbits think so, too. Here is a good recipe:
Many pre-mixed versions of this type of concoction are available at home and garden centers. I highly recommend a brand called Liquid Fence. After just one time of using it on my vulnerable flowers and shrubs, the deer and rabbits have learned to steer clear.
Garlic: No one likes garlic breath, perhaps least of all deer. Recent research has shown that selenium, the component in garlic which gives it its garlic smell, prevents deer from eating tree shoots and seedlings. Give your plants garlic breath by spraying a garlic oil solution on trees and shrubs. (Reapply after it rains). As an alternative, plant time-released garlic capsules (available at health food stores) at the bases of trees or shrubs.
Homemade garlic oil: Soak 6 cloves of minced garlic in 2 tablespoons of mineral oil for 24 hours. Strain out the garlic and add 1 pint of water to the remaining liquid. Mix well and spray plants.
Urine: In the animal kingdom, prey species like deer and rabbits must follow a cardinal rule to survive: avoid predators at all costs. Predatory animals use urine to define their territory. Because the scent of urine is sometimes the only warning prey species have that predators are nearby, when they smell it, they instinctively flee the area.
Bottled urine from predators like coyotes, mountain lions, and wolves can be purchased commercially to create a scent fence around garden plants. If you're so inclined, you can also collect and use your own.
Vinegar: Some gardeners report that vinegar helps repel rabbits. After enjoying a meal of corn on the cob, cut the cobs in half and soak them in a bowl of vinegar for 10 minutes. Then create a scent fence by scattering them throughout your flower or vegetable garden. Store the used vinegar in a labeled bottle and repeat the process every two weeks.
As the odor of your scent fence fades, so does its effectiveness. To keep animals away, you need to keep things smelling "fresh". Always test spray-on repellants in a small area before applying to plants.
Plan to reapply your odor repellants after it rains, and after they have spent some time being exposed to the elements. Eventually, the animals may become used to the scent and start to ignore it. If and when this happens, switching to a different type of scent fence can be effective.
I definitely agree with Ellen on using scent to deter wildlife. My only suggestion would be regarding the soap. A much less expensive solution is to buy the small drawstring muslin bags sold at feed stores (about 25 cents each) and put a small piece of soap (I like original scent Irish Spring) inside. When it rains the soap permeates the bag and makes the scent stronger. One bar works for many of the bags. As a wildlife rehabilitator I thank Ellen for giving those tips on deterring wildlife without causing them harm and I thank everyone in advance for doing what you can to not harm the wildlife while still enjoying your gardens.
If you are troubled by deer or rabbits eating plants in your garden, try my foolproof remedy. After a lot of experimenting, I came up with this easy and inexpensive spray.
Tips for keeping deer out of gardens without fences. Post your own ideas here.
The Green Gardenista recommends sprinkling powdered milk as deer hate the taste of milk once they have been weened. Here's the link to her complete recommendation:
Hope this helps!
It is now august and the deer have not bothered our garden. It seems to be working.
A couple of years ago, I had been away from home for a few days to find my garden had been nibbled on by deer. So, I looked high and low for a solution that would not hurt them and maintain my goal to retain my organic gardening.
I am having problems with either rabbits or deer eating my Monkey Grass. I have tried a commercial spray that stinks. Does anyone have a "home" remedy?
Hardiness Zone: 7a
By cyhuffman from York, SC
It's a matter of training the animals to stay away. We live in a country setting with deer etc. and we use a professional repellent which we buy at a feed and grain store. We buy the concentrate and mix a batch as needed. Follow the directions on how often to spray. Be vigilant with spraying when first starting, and after it rains. Talk with your neighbors on what they use. Also a nursery /garden center can help. Good luck to you. If all else fails try a dog!
I recently read that using pepper spray, cayenne pepper, or any such substance can be detrimental to a rabbit if one should get it in his or her eyes. I need to rid my garden of rabbits as well but don't wish to cause them pain. I guess I'll try the hair, urine, etc.
To keep these pesky critters out of your garden use liquid fence from your garden center.
It's that time of year again when rabbits and deer are looking for some succulent plants to chew on. We have plenty of them in our neighborhood and their favorite foods are tulips, lilies, and hostas. I discovered the best repellent that actually works!
Hardiness Zone: 7a
Mille Woodsi from Alto, N.M.
Sorry to hear about your trees and perennials. If either deer or rabbits are really hungry due to stress from overpopulation or drought, your only defense is a VERY tall fence (at least 8 ft tall for deer) or a fence buried into the ground (at least 6 inches down for rabbits). Because no one method will continue to work forever, an arsenal of inexpensive home remedies is probably your best value. Most gardeners have found home remedies to be at least as effective (if not more effective) than expensive commercial remedies.
As others have noted here, deer detest certain odors. The scent of predators (e.g. human hair, dog hair or fox/coyote urine), and animal proteins (e.g. rotten eggs or bloodmeal) are their two biggest dislikes. There is nothing fancy about animal urine, so if you buy it, buy the most inexpensive product you can find. Some people have also had luck with hanging bars of soap from tree branches or placing soap chips around the base of favored plants. Any strong smelling remedy that repels deer should also work on rabbits. Some gardeners also swear that placing Mason jars 3 feet apart all around their garden repels rabbits. I have no idea why this would work, but anything is worth a try.
All I can say is get a dog ;)
Forget about Bloodmeal! I put a pretty thick layer on last night and this morning saw a rabbit eating off the tops of my petunias:-( I chased him off and sprinkled cayenne pepper in the garden and put down shavings of soap. We'll see if that works.
When putting a cage around a new plant or tree (to keep out deer), overlap the cage and tie it with straps. You can then expand cage as the plant grows without making new cage. Also insert PVC pipe through slots of cage for easy watering direct to the roots.
How do you keep deer out of your garden? Thanks.