Keeping Deer Out of Your Garden

July 20, 2010


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.

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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More Solutions

This page contains the following solutions.

November 15, 2016

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.

deer outside


May 11, 2013

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!


August 25, 2010

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.


June 12, 2008

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

Keep Deer Out With Liquid Fence


17 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

May 19, 2009

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 Charlotte from York, SC


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May 19, 20091 found this helpful

Long ago I read you can use hot pepper spray, (& have even mistakenly recommended it in the past) but NOT if you have pets because it can get in dogs & cat's eyes & these precious little creatures can even dig their own eyes out from the pain & burning! Hot pepper spray is very, very dangerous so if you read about using it, don't!


A product that's recommended specially for this is "Predator Urine". It's supposed to be the safest & best for product, maybe this is what you've use in the past. For keeping birds from garden's, they also sell fake Owls with moving heads & motion detectors with recordings are another product for this problem.


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May 19, 20090 found this helpful

Most of those of us who live way out where the deer and other creatures roam just cage anything we don't want destroyed. Sort of takes away from the beauty of the thing but at least it lives.

May 20, 20090 found this helpful

I have heard that you could ask for hair clippings from your local barber or beautician and spread them around the plants to ward off deer, but I don't know if it would keep away rabbits.

This sounds gross, I guess, but if you can collect human urine, and distribute it around the perimeter of the planted area, it should discourage deer and rabbits from the area.

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May 28, 2008

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


By brandy (Guest Post)
May 28, 20080 found this helpful

Sprinkle perimeter of garden with human hair. Sounds crazy but works. s
Stop at local beauty shop and ask for the trash they put hair in. Wear gloves and sprinkle it around perimeter.

By DIana (Guest Post)
May 28, 20080 found this helpful

Deer use our yard as a thoroughfare to the river They eat everything in sight. We use Deer off or something similarly named. It was purchased from the hardware store and works like a charm!

By rae (Guest Post)
May 28, 20080 found this helpful

We fenced off 1/3 acre of grapes by usiing four foot wide farm fencing (looks like chicken wire )and 6 foot high poles, 40 feet apart. The wire fencing is on the bottom and then we have two rows of string above on the rest of the post. The deer think the fence is actually 6 foot high. I looks better than 6 foot fencing and is cheaper. We have to replace the string every now and then. We couldn't get our grapes to grow for almost 6 years until we tried this. For a smaller area, one of the "scarecrow "devices hooked up to your hose that sprays deer when they walk past it works well too.

By payhoun (Guest Post)
May 28, 20080 found this helpful

Human hair will keep deer our of gardens, etc. Go to a chain salon that cuts alot of hair and ask them if you can pick up a bag of hair each week. They will probably welcome having less bags to take to the dumpster.

May 28, 20080 found this helpful

Hi Sherrie,
We live back in the woods and have all kinds of deer so we have tried all kinds of things. Finally we put 6 metal stakes around the garden and ran 2 strands of 20 lb fish line around it. One at about 3 feet and one at 1 foot. They will walk up to it and can't see it and when they hit it they take off. We have been doing this for about 5 years and works like a charm. We did leave an opening to go in but have stopped that because they got smart and went in the 2 foot opening. They are really smart. Hope this helps. dameemag from Rothbury, Mi

By Needa (Guest Post)
May 29, 20080 found this helpful

I live in Mississippi and this is what my dad used to do to keep deer out of his garden.
Take several strips of fabric and spray them with perfume and tie the strips around your garden. The deer won't go near it.

By Becky (Guest Post)
May 29, 20080 found this helpful

As a hairstylist, I have lots of customers ask me to save hair when I perform a haircut. The customers use it to place around the perimeter of their garden and tell me that it keeps the deer from eating their corn. I haven't tried it, but I have been collecting hair for customers for years. Hope it works.

By Soochatty (Guest Post)
May 30, 20080 found this helpful

I use DeerOff. It works great. You just have to remember to spray your plants after each rain.

May 30, 20080 found this helpful

I use Deer Away which I purchase at a garden supply store. I buy the big bottle of concentrate mixture about $40. I mix it according to the directions, put it in a spray bottle and away I go! Usually spray before a rain, then once or twice more, then like monthly or so. My veggie garden has a wire fence which I tie cut up old socks. Spray the socks with the Deer Away. A bottle of this stuff takes me the whole season. Don't forget around the flower beds and young trees. This stuff really works!

By Gerald Groomes (Guest Post)
May 31, 20080 found this helpful

My Mom uses this trick, which seems to work fairly well. Visit your local barber/beauty shop and ask them to save the hair clippings- drop little handfuls of hair around the perimeter of your garden.
Refresh the hair clippings every 2-3 wks, or after a couple of heavy rain showers. Good luck!

June 3, 20080 found this helpful

We live in the country and have had deer in our back field where there is plenty of browse to eat. Often they sleep back there. I put a garden behind our horse barn in the sun. My husband put up a scarecrow that looks like a man. We also play an old battery operated radio at night. Not so loud to wake the neighbors but enough that they think we are around. We also have two dogs that I walk there in the evening. So far--so good. I'll keep you posted.

June 4, 20080 found this helpful

I live in the woods of Minnesota. I use Milorganite. A very inexpensive pelletized fertilizer. Just sprinkle all around where you don't want deer and they will leave them alone! I reapply small amounts after a rain. I have also found that cayote urine works well too. You can find it at most nurseries and even hardware stores. I use the small plastic hangers with the cotton ball in it and this lasts for a solid month even with rain. Good luck

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:

Hope this helps!


August 4, 20080 found this helpful

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

By DEB (Guest Post)
August 6, 20080 found this helpful

I have big boulders surrounding our home. I realize I have not had any deer problem while all the other people with gardens in the area do and we live right in the woods and see many deer around so I'm sure the deer are afraid to cross the big rocks but these boulders were there on are land when we built our home.

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June 1, 2006
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!



May 5, 20060 found this helpful

I've heard that dried blood works really well. You get it at garden centers.

By Margie Minard (Guest Post)
May 5, 20060 found this helpful

I'm not too sure about repelling rabbits, but eggs and shells do the trick for deer!!! My husband used to work as a lumber broker and one of the huge forestry industrial businesses did extensive research and found that deer HATE the smell of eggs. I usually save my shells and throw them out when I plant my veggie garden. Mix several raw eggs with water and spray around the vegetation after every hard rain. Maybe moth balls would work for the rabbits. They help repel cats.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 214 Feedbacks
May 7, 20060 found this helpful

Deer do not like the smell of the protein in eggs. I make a mixture that I have used here on my acreage successfully for years. Mix one beated egg into 4 litres of water. Spray on the plants. This is a simple solution to make up and simply spray on the plants. It will have to be redone immediately after a rain or a heavy dew.

Rabbits...someone said that they do not like the smell of baby powder.

By margaret (Guest Post)
May 7, 20060 found this helpful

I live out in the country and when we had a garden my husband tied hair in bunches around the garden and it worked even on rabbits and u can go to a hair salon and get it free. We had problems with birds getting the tomatoes

By samantha Pelch (Guest Post)
May 8, 20060 found this helpful

You can try putting old shoes around plants/trees. A friend with an orchard puts his families old shoes around the trees, hangs them too....says it works. As far as I can tell, if deer/rabbits are hungry enough, they will disregard anything. Also, once they determine there is no "real" danger, they will disregard your efforts, so have several different things, and alternate their use.

May 18, 20060 found this helpful

I've attended some very sobering seminars on how to repel deer. Basically, the experts said we are all just planting salad bars for the animals and therefore the population of deer and such are exploding in response to that.
Beside constructing a moat or barrier, it is best to alternate lots of different repellents, both taste & scent. The second valuable thing the expert shared was to be sure that whatever product you used had been okayed by DEC. It was stated that there are lots of small companies selling petroleum-based, homemade products that are not environmentally safe.
We struggle with deer and rabbits too; it's important that you give yourself a fighting chance by at least planting only low-browse risk plants. One seminar the expert showed a picture of blue spruce & cedar that had been gnawed down and destroyed, so if they want to eat it, they will. But at least you can try to have your yard last on the buffet.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 233 Feedbacks
May 18, 20060 found this helpful

All I can say is get a dog ;)

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.

By Todd Young from Baraboo WI (Guest Post)
August 1, 20070 found this helpful

I tried a bunch of home recipes and made egg mixes as well as the hair thing with little luck. My dog keeps deer away when she is outside but she is getting old and starting to get slow. I use a blood based repellent I get from my nearby True Value store and have seen the damage to my hostas stop. It's called Repellex and I like it. The downside to the product is it is pretty stinky when applied, but the smell goes away in a day after it dries. It also has a slight red tint from the blood and can be seen on white flowers. The color can't be seen on green plants and the pigment does go away after a week or two also. Give that a try. It seems to work for a long time before I have to reapply it.

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May 20, 2011

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

By Linda L.

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May 23, 2011

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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July 3, 2014

Does wool keep deer out of a vegetable garden?

By Lynn D

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February 25, 2017

Although traditional fences are probably most effective in keeping wildlife out of your garden, there are other methods that can also work well. Commercial and homemade products utilizing certain odors are also effective. This is a page about using scent fences for repelling deer and rabbits.

An alert deer.

February 26, 2017

Deer don't like eggs, by using this recipe you will be able to deter deer away from your garden. This page has recipes for egg deer repellants.

A deer eating some leaves off a branch.

February 25, 2017

Some homeowners and gardeners have had success repelling deer with hanging bags of scented soap. This is a page about use soap pieces for deer control.

A deer in the backyard.

February 24, 2017

Deers do not like shiny mylar ribbon. By tying it around your garden, you will be able to deter deer from nibbling on your plants. Learn more about using mylar ribbons as deer deterrent in this page.

Mylar Balloon

August 22, 2013

This is a page about Liquid Fence Deer and Rabbit Repellent review. As cute and beautiful as they are deer and rabbits can be the bane of the home gardener. There are lots of options for trying to keep them out of your garden.

Liquid Fence Deer and Rabbit Repellent


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

May 19, 2009

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

Home and Garden Pest Control DeerAugust 5, 2011
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