Deer and Woodchucks: What they ate today

Syracuse, NY

Anemone nemorosa, tulip

Bella Vista, AR(Zone 6b)

OH! I hate that for you!
Those woodchucks are brave, too. I have seen them in broad daylight while I am still out in the yard!

Syracuse, NY

More tulips, right up to the house, hostas just emerging (earliest attack ever) all between 7 am and 6 pm. This is deer damage. And we live in the city.

Syracuse, NY

I need to be more positive and include what is not eaten today.

Trout Lilies:Gone

Yellow Trillium:still there

Bella Vista, AR(Zone 6b)

Oh, you must be so frustrated.
Is this the first year for such a terrible invasion of critters? Are your neighbors affected as well? Have you tried any deterrents?

Syracuse, NY

No, not the first year. We've had this garden for about 35 years and things started becoming a problem starting 10 years ago. If it smells, makes noise, lights up or moves I've probably tried it. Fencing is not affordable, and the commercial sprays not practical as well as being expensive.

The neighbors don't keep gardens. They think the deer are a great feature for the neighborhood. They like the woodchucks too.

Our yard is a perfect haven for wildlife, and we've noted about 30 bird species there. The woods, cover and attractive plant materials attract the mammals.

Each year I select another deer-and-woodchuck resistant plant, but I still want to grow the old ones.


Thumbnail by garyon
Syracuse, NY

Yellow trilliums are gone now, along with Jack-in-the-pulpit
more tulips gone

daffodils have been fine again: never a problem with them

I will move more tulips to the front and side of the house, try netting on some if they're still there this evening.

I will cover newly planted pansy with milk crates before work this am

Any ideas for safe annuals?

Syracuse, NY

I thought that one of my hostas was in a safe place near the house. Not so. I've moved it.

I haven't checked the netted tulips this morning, but they were still there last evening. They looked great. The pansies were okay too.

Syracuse, NY

Netted tulips made it, but really don't look too attractive.

Thumbnail by garyon
Bella Vista, AR(Zone 6b)

Just got through reading this article, so I thought I would link you to it.

Seneca, SC(Zone 7a)

Deer strongly dislike Rosemary and Irish Spring. Anywhere I haven't planted rosemary, I hang Irish Spring if I don't want things eaten. This works for the immediate area around the smelly item. I hear peppers work, too, within several feet of them you won't get deer damage. I'm trying that this year. So far so good. The Irish Spring I hang in a little fabric bag in the tree. I cut the bars into 6 chunks or so to hang them up. They take quite a while to dissolve, 2 years they're still going strong, and not hurting my plants. I've got healthy happy blueberries, apples, peaches, etc... I even put some Irish Spring in my strawberry patch, so they're coming back now, too, thank goodness! We've got 50+ acres of woods in our back yard and a happy herd out there somewhere. Not as happy now that I discovered Irish Spring, though!


Syracuse, NY

Irish spring it is. I have two new Knockout Roses (yellow and pink) that have not bloomed. Each will get it's own bar of soap.



Mentor, OH

I sympathize with everyone's deer problems since I've had my share. I live in a fairly populated area in NE Ohio. There is almost no suitable habitat so where do they come from? lol I have tried all the so-called deterrents and everything seems to work......for about three days. I have used irish spring and coast soap, mothballs, reflectors,human hair from the barber's shop,a scarecrow, installed a motion detection light and a few others that escape me at the moment. Two years ago I ordered a product called "Plot Saver" from Cabelas. It consists of 840 feet ( one acre) of nylon webbing and a 16 oz. bottle of concentrate to spray on the web fence. The reviews varied. The deer stayed out of my garden for 30 days ,then it was "katie,bar the door"! This year I have ordered two full-sized coyote decoys and a quart of coyote urine. (stop laughing) I have come to the conclusion that there is probably no 100% effective deterrent to a hungry deer. There are many homemade recipies on the internet which consist mainly of eggs and milk fermented with hot pepper added. Good luck, Dan

Kansas City, MO(Zone 5b)

New member here. Did the Irish Spring work for you, too? What about the woodchucks? I have exactly the same problem critters. I found a deer spray that really works. It is called 'Liquid Fence' Deer and Rabbit Repellant. It smells horrendous until it dries, then-no odor. We are moving to a native plant landscape and have put fences around the shrubs and trees until they get grow some. The woodchucks are another story. I have a spray from Melissa Wildlife that works fairly well, but we have fenced the new perennials as an added protection. They really love flowers of any kind.
It seems to be a balancing act with a steep learning curve to keep the destructive mammals out. Any advice would be appreciated.

Mentor, OH

birdsbbees, I didn't know if you were posing the Irish Spring question to Garyon or me. I have used I.S. and like every thing else it worked for about three days although this may have been a coincidence and the deer may have been aggravating someone else at that time. We live in a very urban area and I'm convinced that there is no more adaptable wild animal than a hungry urbanized deer. I have used Liquid Fence,Deer Off and Deer Stop. Same results. I have seen deer walk between two parked cars with barely enough room to squeeze through in order to get to some flowers. I haven't seen them feeding out of a garbage can...YET. For some reason I haven't been bothered much this year (so far) . My only losses have been 15 or 20 lilies, a few tulips and about six feet of green bean leaves. We have no groundhogs and very few rabbits. THANK GOD! I would definitely try one of the homemade deterrents with eggs,milk and hot pepper. There are many recipes on the internet.

Parkville, MD

if you plant , chameleon plant deer hate the smell and won't come near your plants. i have some planted in with hostas and roses and haven't lost a hosta yet and I have 260 hostas and plenty of deer roaming through... The deer even ate my neighbors tomato plants.
Chameleon plant can be invasive.. and it can live in a pot in a pond

Syracuse, NY

I plan to design some sort of physical barriers - a combination of fencing, fishing line, plantings and "cages" for plants so I can try vegetables again next year. I read that deer do not like to walk on loose stone, so I'll incorporate that some how. Nothing else has worked.

I moved a number of plants, including hydrangeas, to the front of the house where the deer seldom go.

I will redesign the flower gardens and use plants the deer have not eaten for several seasons - that's not much. Many things on the "deer resistant" list have been eaten.

Medford, NJ

Another possibility for keeping deer away from plants is to place wire fencing flat on the ground. Deer don't like the feel of losing their footing, and the grass will grow through the fencing to allow mowing right over it. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds promising. In my wooded area, deer eat even what deer aren't supposed to eat, such as Gold Dust japonica and geraniums, along with tastes of pachysandra and daffodils (which they then spit out). They haven't touched my hellebores, salvia, or catmint. Any other suggestions for sandy, acidic soil?

Athens, OH

Check out the plant list at www.
The study was conducted in Athens OH, with medium deer pressure.
I understand that parts of NJ have medium-high pressure, so I'd stick to plants that are rated as never browsed .

From the list, here are some that can take drier conditions (I am assuming that sandy implies well drained.) Note, different species and varieties have different deer resistance. The list gives resistance by species and variety and gives the common names.

Aconitum (monk's hood); Agastache; Alchemilla; Alliums; armeria; artemisia; baptisia; Calamintha; clematis; coreopsis; crocosmia; digitalis; euphorbia; lavandula; nepeta; origanum; penstemon; perovskia; sempervivum; veronica.

Please let me know if the list is helpful.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I have read that deer will not jump over a barrier when they can't see where they will land. The barrier should be a strong fence, and a very thick hedge so they cannot push their way through, and be at least four feet deep. I don't remember how high it should be - but obviously high enough so they can't see over it!

We have deer that walk along our rear fence and I don't know why they don't just jump into our vegetable garden, but I'm certainly grateful that they don't!

Athens, OH

Re: height.

There are 16 subspecies of deer. NC happens to have a smaller variety. Ohio, where I live, has a larger one. [PS I lived in Hillsborough NC for many years are can confirm this.]

For Ohio, we recommend single-fence heights at 8 ft. If you use double fencing, you can usually go to 6 feet.

Also, I noticed that if the fence is on a slope (all gardens in Athens OH are on slopes), then you can also use 6 ft fences.

And yes, deer can either push against or shimmy under fences!

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

rox_male - Wow! I didn't know there were different sized deer. Having lived in Florida for over 30 years, I knew the deer there were smaller, but assumed it was because their habitat was limited.

After seeing the size of NC bucks, I wouldn't want to meet up with one of your larger ones!

Athens, OH

If you want to learn more about my interactions with Ohio deer, check out the Wildlife post "Deer: A Gardeners’ Quandary: Bare Spots in the Garden"


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