Keeping Deer Out of Your Garden

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.


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10 found this helpful
May 11, 2011 Flag

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

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November 16, 20160 found this helpful
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I use a quart water, one egg yoke, one tablespoon of hot pepper flakes, one tablespoon baking powder, two cloves chopped garlic. Blend with wire wisk. Allow to sit overnight. Strain and spray on and around plants. Deters deer, groundhogs and rabbits. This really works.

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November 15, 2016 Flag

Do you live in the country and have deer eating the plants out of your garden? Sprinkle hair and crush egg shells on your garden. The hair will taste bad to the deer.

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July 20, 2010 Flag


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. Deer have been known to tunnel under loosely constructed fences, so make sure that the bottom of the fence is slightly sunk into the ground. Electric fences also provide an effective alternative. They are not as costly as other physical, barrier fences, but they do require periodic maintenance and may need to be replaced more frequently.
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Some people have used wire mesh, laid down on the ground in the garden. It seems in some cases that the deer don't like walking on it, and don't like possibly getting their legs tangled in it.


Repellents that are based on odors that deer don't like are the most common. Deer find them either unpleasant or disturbing because they resemble the scent of a predator or danger. Odorous repellents are available commercially in garden centers, hardware and farm stores, and through mail order catalogs. (When buying and using commercial repellents, make sure they are labeled for use on the plants you are trying to protect and be especially cautious around vegetables, fruits, and berries.

Repellents can be costly and time consuming to apply and often must be re-applied after rain. Certain repellents depend on specific temperature ranges to be effective and the choice of repellent may change seasonally. The effectiveness of repellents will depend primarily on the current availability of natural food sources, a deer's appetite, stage of development, the weather, and frequency of application. Milorganite, is a deer repellent, as well as an organic lawn and garden fertilizer. Dried blood meal is an agricultural by-product that offers some degree of protection from deer damage. Dried blood meal is also a good organic fertilizer (nitrogen) for plants.

Bars of deodorant soap hung around susceptible plants is usually effective within a range of three to four feet. The bars work best when wet, it is best to leave the wrapper on, to make last as long as possible. Lifebuoy consistently produces the best results. Bars need to be hung 3-4 feet apart around in the garden area. Replace as needed. Human hair, put in small pouches around the garden (like the deodorant soap), 3-4 feet apart may also work. Replace the hair midway through the growing season to prolong their effectiveness.

Homemade Deer Repellent:

  • 6 spoiled eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. of Thiram 75% (a mild fungicide)
  • 1 quart of water

Mix thoroughly, using an old blender if possible. (Do not use the blender canister for anything intended for human or animal consumption). Then add1-3 gallons of water and mix thoroughly. Spray on plants. Repeat as needed, especially after rain. Don't use moth balls; they may seem to do a good job because of the smell, but they are toxic to humans and animals (as well as pets) alike.

Other Deterrents

  • Electronic sound devices.

  • Dog(s).

  • Thorny bushes or trees planted around or in the garden.

  • A plank hung from a tree; when the wind blows and it bangs against the tree, it scares the deer away.

  • Wind chimes in the garden: the noise scares the deer away. (obviously not itty-bitty wind chimes, bring out the big ones.)

  • Leave a radio playing in the garden.

  • Sheets of aluminum foil or mirrors placed around the garden area will frighten deer away.

  • A scarecrow.
Anything that you use, except for the 8 foot tall fence, and possibly the electric fence will have to be rotated or strategies changed periodically; the deer will get used to the noise, the smell will wear off, they will find out that the scarecrow won't hurt them, and here the deer will come to your garden again.

Source: My experiences, research, and books: Outwitting Critters, and Gardening In Deer Country.

By one.of.a.kind from Al

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3 found this helpful
August 16, 2011 Flag

Although walls and fences are the most effective means of keeping deer and rabbits out of your garden, they are not always a practical solution. "Scent fences" can be an alternative - especially when they have plenty of other places to go in search of food.

Deer in Suburban Garden

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1 found this helpful
October 28, 2009 Flag

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.

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May 31, 2007 Flag

Tips for keeping deer out of gardens without fences. Post your own ideas here.

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2 found this helpful
May 15, 2012 Flag

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.

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June 12, 2008 Flag

To keep these pesky critters out of your garden use liquid fence from your garden center.

Keep Deer Out With Liquid Fence

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May 11, 2013 Flag

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!

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August 25, 2010 Flag

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.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
May 28, 2008 Flag

How can you get rid of deer coming to your garden?

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August 1, 20080 found this helpful

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:

http://www.gree  -with-dried-milk

Hope this helps!


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August 4, 20080 found this helpful

It is now august and the deer have not bothered our garden. It seems to be working.

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May 19, 2009 Flag

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

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January 25, 20100 found this helpful

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!

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November 15, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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June 1, 2006 Flag
Q: Rabbits and deer are eating my 2005 forestry planted trees and perennials. Research online shows me repellents that use stinky odors and coyote and fox urine. What is the best value in repellents that work?

Hardiness Zone: 7a

Many thanks,
Mille Woodsi from Alto, N.M.

A: Mille,

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.

Good luck!


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May 18, 20060 found this helpful

All I can say is get a dog ;)

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June 8, 20060 found this helpful

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.

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May 20, 2011 Flag

How do you keep deer out of your garden? Thanks.

By Linda L.

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May 31, 20110 found this helpful

You put up a big ol' fence! Or if that is not an option, replace the plants that they do eat with ones that are a little more resistant to deer. You can Google for a listing of them. If they get hungry enough, they will get by any spray or deterrent that you might use. I live in a place called Deer Park if that gives you any indication of my experience. :)

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May 31, 20110 found this helpful

This may sound rather gross to some people, but my friend says it works well. Have your husband (or any adult male) pee around the perimeter of your yard. Apparently there is something in the male pheromone smell that the deer will avoid.

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May 23, 2011 Flag

I heard that you could use Dawn on plants outside so deer would not eat them. How much should I use?

By Marion

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June 16, 20110 found this helpful

I know the recipe for a bug repellent is 1 tsp dawn per spray bottle full of water, but I do not know if this would work on deer. I have heard that Ivory bar soap and Irish Spring bar soap hung in a piece of hose and staked out around the garden or from a tree, keeps them away.You have to mist it every once in a while, if they get dried out.



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July 3, 2014 Flag

Does wool keep deer out of a vegetable garden?

By Lynn D

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

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May 19, 2009 Flag

I like to use this recipe to help deter deer from eating my plants.

This makes 1 gallon of spray.

Beat 1 egg in 1 cup of water and sieve to get out white strings or clumps. Add to a gallon jug, add

  • 1 Tablespoon of regular dish soap,
  • 1 Tablespoon of cooking oil,
  • 1/2 C milk

Fill jug partially with water, shake to mix, finish filling gallon jug with water.

I keep this in an extra refrigerator, it can get smelly, but that helps deter the deer and rabbits. Mark your bottle - deer repellent, so no one drinks it. Fill your spray bottle and spray your trees, lilacs, and plants. Don't spray on anything you want to eat, but I do spray my peas and beans before they start to blossom. Spray after every heavy rainfall.

I find after doing it 3-4 times the deer get the hint and quit coming. If you have a problem with deer eating young plants and trees, begin spraying early in the spring, before damage begins. But spray it during the day, so it has a chance to dry on the plant before it would freeze.

By Marcia from New Auburn, WI


How To Keep Deer and Rabbits From Eating Your Plants

Another trick is to put fishing line around the garden/flower beds. It works for deer. But I don't know about rabbits as they don't come near my dogs. (07/31/2007)

By Jenns4x4pu

How To Keep Deer and Rabbits From Eating Your Plants

An easier thing to do is just hang bars of Ivory soap around garden, I don't know why it works but does. (07/31/2007)

By Dawn

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