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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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

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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!

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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.

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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

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17 Questions

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.

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


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 213 Posts
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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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

All I can say is get a dog ;)

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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.

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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.

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