Article: Outwitting Backyard Creatures: Bulbs & Plants They Hate!: Deer Resistant plants always of interest, 1 by NE_Gardener
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In reply to: Deer Resistant plants always of interest
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Garden Warriors, Unite!
Deer, when having a hungry winter either eat everything or at least taste the tips, thus ruining many plants.
I do not own a dog and dogs are only allowed out while on leashes in my village. Deer pick up on that little limitation when being chased. I have wished to borrow a friend's dog to tie outside at night but I am afraid it might bark too much and keep the neighbors awake. Maybe a policy of allowing dogs to roam at night once a week would be a good idea?
But I have a cat [see photo] who LOVES to hunt and catch voles. He will sit on the same spot of lawn for a long time and then pounce, seize the creature-- this goes for gophers as well-- and lay the little corpse on the walkway. After a successful day he's lined the catch as a proud display for the admiration for all who pass by. He does not eat his catch or toss them in the air for play. I recommend getting a cat or if you have one allow it to go outside. I feel that the people who do not want cats to go out because they believe they are decimating the bird population are over-reacting. My hunting cat spent his first wild spring and summer outdoors bringing me live birds and butterflies carefully lodged in his soft mouth. Sometimes he would come in the house every 20 minutes with his "gift." I am fortunate that he listens to me. When his hunting juices were too much for him I would make him stay inside. Whenever he brought something inside I would serious scold him to let him know no praise or reward would come. This was his first ever time to be an outside cat (he is adopted) and he has learned. I also do not set out birdfeeders that spill seeds on the ground to tempt him with easy catches. During bird fledging time he must stay inside during the day. This past spring he did bring in a finch and let it fly in the living room! That's all. I am simply saying that it is possible to teach a hunting cat and as one ages it does much less birding. But vole-catching is always encouraged.
Although no single thing works against deer other than uber-tall camp fences, the comment about changing or disrupting the deer paths does seem to work for me. I started a hedge across the front of my house three years ago. Just 28 feet of three foot high soil planted with so-called deer resistant shrubs. This had been right along the tradition deer path from neighbor to neighbor. The first winter and spring everything was at least tasted or worse. And, yes, both rabbits and deer will eat holly. They spit out the leaves and consume the stems.
The shrubs I want to grow into a screen -- sambuca nigra (especially favored by deer) and purple leaf plum-- are now living year 'round in huge wire cages that disappear from sight. Last winter only I saw only one deer track in the snow and no rabbits. I think we have a fox or something around that are taking care of the rabbits.
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