Want to Banish Bambi? Get Rude!

deer in garden

Got deer? Although deer are cute, they can be a nuisance, particularly if they are fond of the plants in your garden. Can you blame them? The way many of us garden, we might as well be serving them up a gourmet salad. Well, no more Mrs. Nice Guy. If you want to get rid of the deer, you have to get bullish. Here are my five surefire tips for offending these four-legged chompers so badly they'll want nothing more to do with you or your hydrangea. With any luck.

1. Serve them yucky plants.

Better Homes and Garden has a great list of "Deer Busters," the top deer-resistant plants for every region. This being said, some years deer just won't have enough to eat, period. If they know they can find food in your garden, they'll come out of the woods and into your yard to eat their fill, whether they like the plants or not.


2. Scare them silly.

Everyone seems to have a home remedy when it comes to keeping deer out of the garden.

A group of deer just paid a visit to the farm where I work and nibbled the sweet potato plants all the way down to the ground. I asked the farmer what she intended to do about the deer problem, and she told me a few of her tried and true methods.

The first plan of attack? Hang aluminum pie plates all around the perimeter of the garden. The pie plates confuse the deer and make them think twice about jumping into the space.

Another favorite deterrent? Irish spring soap placed in little cloth bags and hung up around the garden. She also visits the local salon to pick up a bag of hair clippings to place on the ground.

All of these are supposed to be signals to the deer that humans live near the garden and they should stay away. Do they work? Well, the jury is still out on this one.

3. Be loud! And obnoxious!

One of the professors in my Master Gardener program suggested using lights with motion sensors to scare away deer. He also mentioned using a radio outdoors to trick deer into thinking that humans were outside. While this may work for the first few visits, deer will get used to these tricks, so he suggested repositioning your radio every so often to keep the deer on their toes.

4. Play a dirty trick.

After awhile, you'll notice that the deer have favorite plants. If you mix up a simple pepper and dish soap cocktail to spray on these preferred plants, chances are the deer will leave them alone. Planet Green has a recipe for a red pepper spray to be used weekly if deer or other mammals are visiting your garden.

5. Erect a big ugly fence.

Well, it doesn't have to be ugly. Truly, this is the only surefire way to keep deer out of your garden. The next question is of course, how tall? You'll need at least 8 feet to prevent the deer from jumping over it.

How do you keep deer out of your garden?


Photo via normanack /Flickr

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