A deer grazing in a field is a peaceful sight. However, if you like your plants, a dear in your yard treating your landscape like a free meal is not an ideal situation. Fortunately, there are a few techniques you can use to manage deer browsing, while keeping the deer safe and reducing damage to your plants.
Using repellent is a common defense again deer feeding. Repellents discourage deer from feeding either because they have a bad taste or an obnoxious smell. Make sure you always follow directions for your chosen solution and reapply as recommended. If you continue to see deer damage, switch to a different repellent. If plants were treated with repellent earlier in the winter, reapplication may be necessary, especially if you’re still seeing damage.
Safety tip: Whether you choose commercial repellents or homemade formulas, you wouldn't want to accidentally harm your family or other wildlife. Always choose humane formulas—never poisons.
Fencing is the most permanent and reliable deer-control solution. If you have a serious problem with deer, you'll save lots of time and energy by making the investment in a sturdy fence around your yard or garden. Deer can jump very high, so an effective fence needs to be at least seven feet tall. A cheaper and easier option compared to putting up a fence is to string a line of monofilament around your beds within the deer feeding zone—ideally three feet above ground. Just as deer can't comprehend the concept of glass, this clear, taut barrier also confuses deer, ultimately causing them to flee.
Deer learn from negative feedback such as bad tasting chemicals, noise or lights. However, once deer get used to these scare tactics, they are no longer effective. Additionally, though they aren't always attractive, scarecrows, sundials and other garden ornaments—especially those with movable parts—make deer skittish. Use them in combination with wind chimes or bright lights for added effect.
The best deer browsing management comes from assessment of your property, looking at factors such as plant species, frequency of browsing and characteristics of the property. Contact us today to discuss a management plan to meet your property’s specific needs.