Deer can be enchanting to look at but not when they are devouring plant after plant in your garden. If you have a garden, you might have faced the harsh challenge of it becoming a free deer buffet. If so, you might be curious to know of all the ways you can prepare your garden beds to keep deer out.
Different herds in each region will eat different plants. So, you will need to patiently experiment with ideas and figure out what works best for your garden. But the most important part will be to be flexible with what plants you want to put in your garden bed and the techniques to manage the amount of deers attracted.
In this article, I will try to explain the various ways you can protect your garden plants from deer. You might also be curious to know how you can identify whether the damage to your garden was done by deer as different strategies are required for protecting your garden from different animals. So, let’s jump right into it.
15 Ways You Can Keep Deer Out of Your Garden
At a glance, a deer strolling around your garden can seem pretty harmless. But to an experienced home gardener, these innocent-looking animals are the biggest nuisance to the trees and plants. If you don’t pay enough attention to them, they’ll end up devouring leaves, stems and chomp off buds of many varieties of plants.
If you have been facing such challenges and can’t keep those herds out of your backyard, don’t fret. There are many methods you can try that keep deer off your yard. Let’s look at some of them and you can decide what works out best for your garden:
1. Avoid Growing Some Specific Plants
Deer have specific foods they love. They are most likely to go for tender green plants such as lettuce, ivy, hosta, pansy, and any other young green plant! They also love protein-rich crops like beans and peas.
Other appealing plants include plants that grow in spring and early summer- lilies, tulips, and roses. Deer also have a special love for fruits, just like us. They will chomp on almost all types of fruits.
2. Grow Deer-Favorite Plants near Your House
It is understandable that you may still want to grow those deer-loved plants in your garden. So one way to deal with this problem can be to position them near your house.
Deer are more likely to stay away from areas where there is high human activity. Also, it is easier to keep tabs on your plants when they are closer to your house. Planting these plants inside your porch also allows some extra protection as well.
3. Plant Heavily Scented Plants and Herbs As A Natural Barrier
You may want to consider growing plants with a strong aroma around your garden. I recommend herbs and plants like lavender, mint, marigold, and chives as they are all great choices.
Deer are reluctant to walk among these heavily scented plants as the smell will catch on to their fur. This makes them more noticeable to predators and also disrupts their ability to sense any prowling ones nearby. Heavy scents like mint and lavender can also make deer unable to find your delicious vegetables.
But it is understandable if you don’t fancy making a fort of lavender around your garden. You might still want to consider putting a few heavily scented plants here and there around the corners or key spots.
4. Grow Some Hairy, Prickly, or Thorny Foliage
To make your garden deer-proof, defend it with a line of plants that feel fuzzy or hairy to the touch. Before buying the plants, feel it for small hairs on its leaves. If the texture is hairy, you can keep it in your garden to protect it from deer.
While the smell card still trumps over touch, no deer will like hairy or fuzzy texture in their mouth. So try to incorporate many deer-resistant plants such as lamb’s ear, tuberous begonias, Lady’s mantle, and barberries in your garden.
Another type of plant that can repel deer is the ones that have spines on the leaves. The plants include bear breeches, sea hollies, cardoons, and others. Sometimes a few deer may learn to eat around the thorns and eat the leaves. But they will still try to avoid eating off these plants.
5. Protect Your Garden with a Fence
The most obvious and effective way you can keep deer off your yard is by putting a fence around. It is an expensive choice. But when you have finished putting up a proper one, it trumps over any other way to keep deer from scavenging around your garden.
To keep the deer population out, you will need a fence that will not have more than 6-inch by 6-inch opening. The fence should extend quite a bit underground as well. Otherwise, a deer might easily squeeze their way in or just crawl under.
Many breeds of deer can jump quite high. Whitetail is especially popular for being a menace to many gardens. So the fences must be at least 8 feet high. You can also put electric fences during spring and late fall- the peak feeding season for deer. But keep in mind that many municipalities don’t allow them.
So, before you decide on buying an electric fence, check out if it is allowed. You may also need to hire professionals for the installation. Other than that, you need to maintain the fence line regularly so weeds or plants don’t come in contact with it. Or else the fence can be left ineffective.
6. Invisible Fishline Fence for Your Garden
While putting a fence in your garden may be the most obvious choice, many may not go through the hassle, or just do not want to change the beauty of their property. You might also not have enough budget to bear the cost. If so, you can choose a fishing line to create an invisible fence around your garden.
Since a deer is born as prey, they have decent eyesight. They may have a wide range of vision but they have a hard time with depth perception. So a fishing line can help you to repel them. Place stakes around all the corners of your garden. Now take the fishing line and mark out the perimeter with it.
When a deer comes close to your garden, it can brush against the “invisible” fence. But they will not be able to see it. Brushing up against something they can’t see is enough to spook them and send them away into the woods.
7. Protect Your Plants with Netting
To protect your small plants and shrubs, you can drape garden netting over them. The material is the same one used to keep birds away from your edible plants. If you want to protect a small section of your garden, a few metal stakes and netting will come in handy. Using these, you can create a temporary fence around the section.
Another common fence is known as “Black Deer Netting” or “Invisible Netting”. You can put it up around metal T-bar garden posts. Since the fence will be at least 8 feet tall, it will be effective in keeping deer out. This is a great choice that won’t block the beautiful view of your garden.
8. Keep Your Garden Clean
Cleanliness always counts no matter what the situation. You can trim down tall grass so that deer won’t be able to use it as a bedding area. Keep your trees clean of any lower branches. This makes your garden harder to browse through for a deer. They will be more attracted to other lush bushes near your yard.
Make sure to keep the garden clean of any acorn, leaves, or rotten fruits. Hungry deer will seek these out. So regularly pick up any ripe fruits and discard all the crops after harvest.
9. Obstruct Their Vision
You can try planting thick hedges of short needle spruces or thick boxwoods to obstruct the vision of any deer passing through. Deer are less likely to take the risk of jumping over and ravaging your garden, if they can’t see what is on the other side.
The afore mentioned plants are deer repellent varieties as well and will work fine.
10. Use Noise Deterrents for Deer
Deer are prey animals and naturally get spooked by any loud noise they hear. So, you can use noise deterrents like wind chimes or whistles to spook them away. You can hang CDs by strings as well. The motion and flashes of light reflecting from them are something deer are not used to. This is enough to spook them away to the woods.
Another effective method you can try is creating a 10 inches long and 5 inches wide white flag. Since it looks similar to a white deer’s tail but without the deer, it can spook a deer. Pie tins and aluminum cans create noise and an unusual visual for a deer to take in and spook them away.
Many swear by the tactic to keep a transistor radio in their garden. You just need to keep it on at night and switch the station whenever you can. This will keep any deer away.
But make sure to switch up the noise deterrents. If you keep one type of noise deterrent for too long, the deer can get used to it. Someday it will muster up the courage to ravage through your garden.
11. Spray Something Smelly on Your Plants
Just like any other prey animals, deer have a great sense of smell. So keeping them away is easy if you spray unappealing scents onto their favorite plants. You can find many concoctions and recipes that smell horrendous but keep deer away successfully.
Many of these recipes are made with raw eggs, milk, garlic powder, dish soap, cayenne powder, and a gallon of water. Mix them up and keep them out in the sun to get the scent flowing. It’s best to spray the scent at night so you won’t be in the garden during those smelly periods. It is also best you don’t spray the concoction on any plant you want to consume.
12. Place Motion-Activated Sprinklers in Your Garden
Buying one or two motion-activated sprinklers can prove to be extremely useful to keep away deer. These will activate and deliver a sharp burst of watery surprise whenever it senses any motion. So, any deer that get close to your garden is sure to get spooked and run away.
You need to consider the size of your garden when you buy sprinklers. If your garden is too big, you might need to buy more than one to keep it deer-proof. You should also remember to move the sprinkler to a new location now and then. This is critical to give your garden maximum protection.
13. Let Your Pet Dog Take Over
A pet dog can prove to be extremely useful to keep deer away from your garden. The size of your dog won’t matter much. Just their barking and smell will be enough to work as a natural deer repellent.
So make sure to let your dog out to the garden now and then. Take him out every time the kids come to the yard to play or when you are gardening.
14. Scatter Soap around Your Garden
You can consider cutting up soap into small pieces and scattering them around the plants you want to protect in your garden. This stops any deer from devouring the newly budding plants and lets them mature. The biggest advantage is that the soap lasts for a long time. Unless it rains.
The most effective soap you can go for is Irish Spring. But it doesn’t have to be that one, the deer repelling ingredient you are looking for is called ‘tallow’. You can choose better fragrant ones to save your flower beds as well. But do check the content of your soap to make sure it has ‘tallow’ in it. The ones with coconut oil can have the opposite effect and end up attracting deer.
15. Avoid Growing Tasty Plants in Plenty During Spring Time
You may want to plant as many tasty plants as you want all year around. But during spring deer are hungrier than ever. After the harsh and cold winter, they want to gain back the weight they have lost. As a result, they are on the lookout for tasty, protein-rich, and moisture-filled plants.
So, before you think about planting beans, peas, lettuce, impatiens, pansies, or lettuce in plenty during this time, think about it again. The fruit trees will become key targets as well. If you don’t have proper protection ready against deer, avoid growing these plants during the springtime.
Can You Use Coffee Grounds to Deter Deer?
Many people use coffee grounds to keep deer away from their garden. If you are not aware if they are useful or not, you may have wondered, do coffee grounds keep deer away? The answer is yes, they are effective in keeping deer away.
Deer are prey animals and have an acute sense of smell. There is no scientific research backing up how useful it is but the bitter smell of coffee grounds is quite effective to deter deer. So, you can use coffee grounds to keep deer off your property.
Before you use the coffee grounds, keep them in a sealed container or bag for about a week. Make sure to check whether they developed any mold or not before you use them. It is done to check if any of the beans have mold on them.
If you spread moldy coffee in or around your garden, they will make their way to the plants and kill them. So, checking them is really important. After checking the coffee grounds, spread them on the grounds near the plants you want to protect.
But don’t spread them directly on your plants. Also, since the deer deterrent needs to smell strong, replace the coffee grounds now and then.
How Can You Identify Damage Done by a Deer?
It’s not hard to identify the damage done to your plants by a deer. You can be sure it was a deer if there is:
- Visible pointed or jagged damage on the leaves.
- Signs that indicate nibbles on products.
- The disappearance of buds and blossoms,
- Round black excrement and small piles of it.
- Hoofprint in the soil around your garden.
- Scrubs on woody branches and tree trunks from deer antlers.
It can be frustrating when all the hard work you put in your garden gets devoured by a hungry deer. These innocent-looking animals can prove to be a real nuisance around your precious garden. So to save you from those frustrating mornings, this article gives you 15 ways you can prepare your garden beds to keep deer out.
From plants you might want to avoid to those you will want to keep in the garden, many useful ways were introduced in this article. I hope you can experiment with the ways to find out which one works best at keeping away deer from your yard. Thank you for reading till now.