Do you like seeing deer in your yard? I know I am always in awe of these lovely animals no matter how often I see them. They are so graceful and beautiful and never seem to harm anyone. But, you do not want them eating all the beautiful flowers, vegetables, and fruits you have planted in your yard, right? So, how can you enjoy seeing Bambi and her relatives without letting them ruin your gardening?
Beautiful But Destructive
Let's face it, they may be gorgeous creatures, but they can cause some serious destruction to your yard and garden. You probably did not spend all that time preparing the ground, growing the seedlings, planting and caring for your garden for some deer to come and eat them or trample all over them. Well, when you live in a rural area like I do, you pretty much have to expect some wild animals such as deer to invite themselves over to dinner. In fact, they come for lunch, breakfast, and many in-between snacks as well. But, they were here before we moved in, after all, and they come to eat the persimmons in the summer as well as the acorns in the fall. Actually, they pretty much eat just about anything they can find and they have been doing it for much longer than we have been here. So, we do not mind. However, it is nice if they leave the garden and flowers alone. But before you go looking for your rifle (no!!!), try some of these tips to live peacefully with these beautiful animals.
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
It may be obvious to many, but some people actually do not even think about trying a fence. Seriously, a good-sized fence can keep out almost all of the critters that may be interested in munching on your foliage and flowers. You have to use the right kind of fencing to keep deer out though and may get expensive because it has to be more than seven feet tall. Deer can jump over a seven-foot fence. A stockade fence of at least eight feet high that dee cannot see through would be the best. However, the cost of the fence and the fact that you have to block off your beautiful flowers from the world makes many people choose other methods. Some say that using wide sections of large rocks that deer do not like to walk on. Many zoos and animal parks use these types of barriers to keep deer, giraffes, and zebras from crossing. There are also invisible deer netting fences that you can get at your local garden or big box store. They are not really invisible. Not to us, just to the deer. Others use electric fences but these can be hazardous and may even be illegal in some cities or counties. I would not recommend these as they can lead to serious accidents if a family pet or even a family member accidentally touches the fence. However, if you are desperate and feel like you need it, be my guest, but be safe.
Deer Deterrent Plants
Believe it or not, there are many plants that deter deer as well. They do not like strong smelling plants, such as Columbine (Aquilegia), Oregano, Lavender, Thyme, Sage, and Bee Balm. They also stay away from prickly plants. For these, you can try Sea Hollies (Eryngium), Cardoon, Globe Thistle (Echinops), and Bear’s Breaches (Acanthus). Fuzzy or furry plants are not favorites of these amazing beasts either. Some of these include Purple Top Vervain, Poppies, Ageratum, Tobacco, Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera), Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla), and Lambs Ear (Stachys). There are way too many to list here so you can just Google the rest.
Stink Up Your Yard
Not the way you think, though. You just have to make your yard smell like things that deer do not like, which include humans and animal predators such as dogs. This option I saved for last because I want you to remember it. It is the easiest and most effective, according to the experts. It does make sense though, right? When people go deer hunting, they use special products to get rid of or cover up their human smell. Deer are extremely sensitive to scent so if they smell a human or a dog, they are going to go the other way every time. So, how do you do this? No, you do not have to go out and roll around in the yard and rub all over the plants or lock your dog outside 24/7. I mean, you can if you want to but you will likely end up with some chigger bites. Some folks scatter human or dog hair clippings around the outside of their garden. Others use their own shampoo, soap, or cologne. You can also buy products such as fox or wolf urine and spray that all over the areas you do not want the deer to go. You can also make your own concoction by mixing one tablespoon of dish detergent, one egg, and one cup milk with a gallon of water.
Let Them Eat
Of course, if you are anything like me, you will just let them continue to enjoy their acorns and persimmons so you can watch them. We see at least one to three deer every day and every year we get to see the new babies when they are just learning to find their own food. Just use the above tips to keep them from what you don’t want them to devour and sit back and enjoy the beauty of nature.