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Keeping Deer Out of Your Garden

Category Deer
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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July 20, 2010

Fencing:

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:

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.
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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.

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

By one.of.a.kind from Al

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By 1 found this helpful
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.

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February 25, 20170 found this helpful

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.

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This is a guide about using scent fences for repelling deer and rabbits.

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By 1 found this helpful
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.

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Also insert PVC pipe through slots of cage for easy watering direct to the roots.

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By 0 found this helpful
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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February 26, 20170 found this helpful

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

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February 25, 20170 found this helpful

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

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February 24, 20170 found this helpful

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 guide.

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August 22, 20130 found this helpful

This is a guide 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.

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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.

By 0 found this helpful
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

Answers

May 19, 20090 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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By 0 found this helpful
May 28, 2008

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

Answers

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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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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June 1, 20060 found this helpful
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!

Ellen

Answers

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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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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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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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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By 0 found this helpful
May 20, 2011

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

By Linda L.

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May 23, 20110 found this helpful

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, 20140 found this helpful

Does wool keep deer out of a vegetable garden?

By Lynn D

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May 19, 20090 found this helpful

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

Answers:

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 Jenn

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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