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I LOVE our deer population, I never thought I'd enjoy country living so much, but they are just about the highlight of living out of the city for me...BUT...they are eating EVERYTHING, is there no way to keep a garden in the country?????????
The so-called 'deer fencing' which is just netting is a joke! They run right THROUGH it! So next step is going to have to be a chain-link fence. Do you more experienced gardeners agree? How high does it have to be? 7'? 8'????????????????
Our population is quite that bad where I live. So far have not had any problems. I think most people who have a serious deer issue have found electric fencing to be the best solution. Not sure on the height...but I know deer can jump up fence up to 7-8 feet.
A friend has used that plastic fencing with no issues. He has a vegetable garden and a flower garden. He put upright metal 'stakes' every 10 feet or so and attached the fencing to it or to trees. I was skeptical because his fence is only 6 feet high and if the area of the enclosure is large enough, the deer will leap that. They just won't jump into a small area. I have read that the fencing should not be shorter than 8 feet. As 50glee pointed out - you can choose plants that the deer aren't known to browse..(that is what we have done) but if hungry enough they will eat anything and what they don't the rabbits will ... Be sure if you do try to go that route that you research what the deer in your region are known to like or dislike, because their likes/dislikes oftentimes differ regionally.
I wonder what kind of plastic fencing your friend used. Mine is this netting which is about 1/2" apart and it's called 'deer fencing' at Home Depot but I've seen the deer scoot right under it or just barrel right THROUGH it when scared away. The stakes and fending were 6' tall, and the area small, just 2 sets of beds which measure 4'x8' each and about 4' between beds.
DH is pretty set on some 8' chain link fencing but I'm afraid it will just look like a prison behind our garage and look stupid! BUT we do want a garden!!!!!!!!!!!
I know the deer will eat whatever they want when hungry, they definitely love my roses and tomatoes. So far they seem to be leaving the zucchini alone, but I've just about abandoned the garden now so the weeds are taking over. If only the deer would eat the weeds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have quite a few deer around in my neck of the woods as well. Once I got my pom he would keep them out of the yard but he would get into my flower bed and dig it up. My flower bed is up off the ground a bit so I simply got one of those border fences meant to help keep people from walking in your flower beds and put it up along my bed and then he decided that since he couldn't get to the flowers he'd let the deer in as long as "mom" was in the house and when she would come out he'd then go chase them out of the yard. Silly dog anyway.
I just about went nuts with the deer eating everything! Now we have a fence and it is heaven! They would come right up on the deck and chomp away! They are not hungry.. there is more than ample food here for them. They just like flowers and veggies. I did buy a couple of scarecrows. as in...motion activated sprayers that they hate and leave.
What I am wondering now is if anyone has had Quail in their vegetable garden... we have a covey of them that have just discovered it. Will they eat vegetables?
We fenced our vegetable garden with a 4-foot rabbit wire fence and it works. Deer don't like to be enclosed in a small fenced area (our garden is about 20x40 feet). They like to have more than one escape route. We also put electric fence around all the flowerbeds. We then put a food plot planted with clover and wheat down by the creek which they love. It's far enough from our house that they feel comfortable going to it and don't even run when we walk outside to sit on our porch. I've also planted numerous fast growing oaks that are now producing acorns which they also love. Country living at it's best :-}