Deer and rabbit proofing

Georgetown, TX(Zone 8a)

My deer never got the memo about Heucheras being deer resistant. Or maybe it was the rabbits. Either way, they kept them munched down all last year. I tried Liquid Fence and Deer Scram as well as running screaming after them, waving my arms like a maniac every time I caught them in my yard. I think I made the neighbors nervous.

Anyway, so this year I was still determined to get some cool Heuch's. I bought Miracle, Tiramisu, Georgia Peach, Midnight Rose and Silver Scrolls to go with the Caramels and NOID's I had last year. I decided to do a physical barrier this time, but I didn't want a big fence around the area because it's right next to the driveway.

So I got some bird netting and some of those ring-stakes that are used to hold up floppy plants and some landscape "staples". I put the stakes over each plant, then covered them with netting and "stapled" the edges to the ground. It actually worked pretty well. From a distance it's not noticeable at all. I'm hoping after the plants have been in the ground a year or two I will be able to remove the netting because the deer and rabbits seem to go after newly planted plants the worst. Also, we've been in an extreme drought the past year, so they've been more desperate than usual, according to some of my neighbors (we've only lived here a year and a half, but they said the deer used to not be as nosy).

Anyway, I wanted to show you all what I did so if anyone else has deer who seem to savor the D.R. stuff and who figure if it's good enough to put Liquid Fence on it, it must be a real delicacy, you could try this too.

Thumbnail by PeeperKeeper
Georgetown, TX(Zone 8a)

Here's another pic. Obviously you can see the stakes, but you have to actually look for the netting. In real life, it depends on the sun. Sometimes the netting shines in the sun, but as it weathers that gets better.

The good news is nothing has bothered my new babies except somebody took a taste of some of the blooms that I had pulled through the netting so they wouldn't be folded over. But they didn't eat all the blooms that were sticking up, so maybe they have more in the landscape to eat since we have gotten at least a little rain lately.

Thumbnail by PeeperKeeper
Paris, IL(Zone 6a)

It looks like it should work, Peeper. It's not noticeable till you get close up.

Last year I used 3 foot tall chicken wire around my beds. What an unsightly mess that was. There was no way to make it look good. I haven't put it back up, yet, even though I see more rabbits in the yard than last year.

It's frustrating to walk out in the morning and not see a plant that was there last night.

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

I'm a veteran of the bunny / bambi wars.
I've resorted to rather extreme measures over the years,
including your bird-netting method.
For low growing perennials, I too find it to be very effective.

But I had a little snafu related to my bird-netting method.
It's embarassing to relate, as most gardeners would have had more common sense.
I was too lazy to pick up the netting at the end of the season last summer.
Over the winter, the netting sagged flush to the ground, of course.

Then this spring, all the new growth grew right threw the netting.
It was a nightmare getting the trapped new foliage extracted from the netting.
Actually, it was only a minor nuisance for the heucheras.
But I used the same method on some lankier perennials - that was a real mess.
We live, we learn...

Ripon, WI(Zone 4a)

I have deer and rabbit problems too. I found that Plantskydd works excellent. It smells when you first put it on but as soon as it's dry it quits smelling. It does leave dark spots where it hits the plants, but I just put it on the ground around my plants and that seems to work just as well. It also deters squirrels who like to dig.

Starkville, MS

Peeperkeeper---if you are using the very light weight deer netting from Lowe's, it has another benefit. If there is a small amount piled on the ground, snakes will get caught in it---and will die there. It is so easy to get caught in the stuff-------whenever I try to put it out it gets caught on any button that I might have on my clothes. So, any place you want to keep free of snakes, you just roll up a little of this netting-----and put it on the ground around the area.


Bensenville, IL(Zone 5a)

goldfinch4 - Thanks for the Plantskydd info. I looked it up and like it because it is organic certified and safe. This is the first year I've had deer problems. Ate almost all my rosebuds off, trimmed down my phlox, tore at my clematis, munched a few heuchera leaves and sheared a potato vine down to an inch. I was so mad until I saw the doe the next day with a new fawn nursing. Ah, I guess I could sacrifice a few rosebuds this time....but not again. I'll be using the Plantskydd.

Ripon, WI(Zone 4a)

Good luck Medinac! It can be so frustrating to have all your plants eaten after all your hard work.

Rosamond, CA(Zone 8b)

I am just going to move to a vacation property that we won't be there all the time at, so I'm disconcerted about it. I see that could work, with small plants with the netting, you do get tangled in it. I used to put wire over the top of fresh planted vinca Major and my husband freaked. A year later and now two, you can't see it and the rabbits did not eat it and don't try now for some reason. The deer will be the death of me. How high will they jump to get into your yard? I heard a person in Susanville, ca had 6 or 7 all speared to her pointed wraught iron fence, some alive and some dead. That did not keep them from jumping but it must be near the limit in highth?

I was thinking to start my gardens by buying first one, chain link dog run, sinking the chain a little in the dirt, then putting soil or making a lasagna bed in it, planting inside it. If it works and looks ok, then maybe I can get a new one each year or two and build a sitting area in the middle of them. You can even grow tall roses in some of them or make some cages out of wire and rebar, welded if it is cheaper. I just don't know. I have to have a garden of some sort.

Stroudsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

You have a lovely selection of plants. I hope your netting works because I'd like to see what they look like in a couple of years.

By the way, please don't kill the snakes. They are the best garden helpers you are going to get for free. They eat slugs - lots of them. Since I have had a couple of garter snakes move in my slug problem is nearly over. Sure they startle me from time to time, but so does my husband and I think I'll keep him. He doesn't even eat slugs....

Rosamond, CA(Zone 8b)

Yes but they look so much like rattlers here, those darn gopher snakes. I weigh out how much I like them. We have a lot of squirrels under ground that they are not eating but snakes under the house so who will do work if we need work done... I'm not sure what the answer is.

Stroudsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

I don't know what I would do in your circumstance. We have almost no poinsonous snakes here. Just little garter snakes. Maybe a black snake which is even better than a garter snake. My father-in-law was a dairy farmer. He had a big black snake in the barn that he treasured. Kept the rats down better than a cat! This is my garden helper.

Thumbnail by rteets
Rosamond, CA(Zone 8b)

That is why I don't kill them either, but it is scarier, when you can be killed or someone else working under your home fixing a pipe or vent, could be and you knew snakes were under the house. We need to get rid of the dang squirrels and the snakes will go. Yours is not that cute but I'd keep him too. I need gopher eaters.

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