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How to Keep Deer from Eating Your Plants

How to Stop Deer from Eating Your Plants

If you have a home garden, then you know that deer can be a huge problem. They love to eat your plants, and they can quickly decimate a garden if you’re not careful.

One of the most common questions I get asked when it comes to home gardening is “Why do deer like to eat my garden plants?”

There are a few reasons why deer may be attracted to your garden, including the fact that your plants may be more nutritious than the wild plants they typically eat.

Deer also tend to prefer young, tender plants over mature ones. So, if you have a brand new garden, it’s likely that deer will find it especially appealing.

Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to keep deer out of your garden.

In this blog post, we will discuss seven different ways that you can help deter deer from eating your garden plants. Some of these methods are more effective than others, but all of them will help to some degree. Keep reading to learn more!

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How to Keep Deer from Eating Your Plants – 4 Simple Methods

#1. Use Deer-Resistant Plants

This is one of the most effective ways to keep deer from eating your plants. There are many different types of deer-resistant plants, so do some research to find ones that will work well in your garden.

Some of the more popular and easily accessible plants that deer do not like include:

  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Gardenias
  • Marigolds
  • Rhododendrons
  • Hollyhocks
  • Daffodils
  • Foxglove
  • Alliums
  • Catmint
  • Fennel
  • Snowdrops
  • Hyacinths
  • Crocuses

Just to name a few! These plants have either a strong scent or bitter taste, or both that deer do not enjoy.

By planting some of these around the perimeter of and throughout your garden, you can deter deer from coming in and eating your plants!

Besides keeping deer from eating your plants, you are also improving the diversity and aesthetics of your garden and helping the local honey bee population. 

(Here are more deer resistant shade plants and flowers.)

#2. Put Up a Fence

It may seem painfully obvious, but a fence can be a very effective way to keep deer out of your garden. Just make sure that the fence is tall enough and strong enough to deter deer from jumping over it or pushing it over.

A fence should be at least 8 feet tall to deter deer from jumping over it. You can also add things like barbed wire or electric fencing to deter deer even further.

Deer will pick up on the slight hum of the electrical charge being put off and it may be just enough to make them think twice about venturing into unsettling or unknown territory, even for some fresh plants.

It is suggested that when erecting a fence, you avoid a chain link fence. Chain link fences are prone to trapping bucks and their antlers.  This could be fatal for young and older deer, especially during rutting season.

#3. Use Repellents

There are many different types of deer repellents available on the market. Some of them are more effective than others, but they can all help to deter deer from eating your plants.

If you’re wondering what the best deer repellent is to keep deer out of your garden, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with deterring deer from eating their plants, but there are a few things you can do to help.

One option is to use commercial deer repellents. These are typically made with ingredients that deer don’t like, such as garlic or hot peppers. You can find these products at most home and garden stores.

Another option is to make your own deer repellent. This can be done by mixing together water, vinegar, and essential oils that deter deer.

One recipe calls for mixing 1 part water, 1 part vinegar, and 10 drops of an essential oil such as peppermint, citronella, or eucalyptus. This mixture can then be sprayed on plants to deter deer from eating your plants.

Another popular recipe for deer repellent is made from putrefied eggs, dried blood, garlic, and liquid dish or laundry soaps.

Whatever method or ingredients you use to deter deer from eating your plants, always be sure to use chemicals and ingredients responsibly to avoid hurting other animals or contaminating the surrounding soil and plants.

#4. Try Scaring Them Off

If you have a deer problem, then you may want to try scaring them off with loud noises or bright lights. This won’t work all the time, but it’s worth a try!  Utilizing the predatory calls and sounds of their natural predators may be effective at keeping them from eating your plants.

You can also deter deer by using things like motion-activated sprinklers, strong-smelling chemical repellents, or ultrasonic devices.

Deer are creatures of habit. They tend to go where they feel safe and pass that information on to their young. Deer startle easily.  Startle them well enough, and they will turn and run away.

However, once they are at a safe distance, they will investigate to determine if the threat is real or not. Using various methods to keep deer off-guard, is the best approach when trying this strategy.

#5. Plant Some of their Natural Predator’s Smells

Another way to keep deer away from your plants is to plant some scents of their natural predators.

Deer sit pretty low on the natural order of the food chain. They are very cautious animals and avoid confrontation with predators at all costs.

Mountain lions, bears, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and even domesticated dogs are enough to make a deer look somewhere else for food if they have reasonable reason to believe those predators are nearby. 

For example, if you live in an area with deer, then planting or spraying the urine from one of these predators around your garden can help to keep them away.

You can purchase various types of predator urine online, or from your local hunting or agriculture store. 

If you live in an area where it is safe and common practice to leave your dogs outside, then this is a very effective way to keep deer away from your garden.

Just the very presence of even a small dog or two is enough to influence a deer to stay clear of your property. 

Of course, if you do keep your pets outside, be sure they have adequate shelter to keep them warm and safe at all times.

#6. Keep Your Garden Clean

Finally, one of the best ways to deter deer from eating your plants is to simply keep your garden clean. Deer are attracted to gardens that are full of food scraps and other debris, so make sure to keep yours clean and tidy if you want to keep them away.

If you want to keep your garden looking clean and tidy, there are a few things you can do.

First, make sure to regularly trim and prune your plants. This will help them stay healthy and prevent them from getting too big or overgrown.

Second, garden debris such as leaves and twigs should be removed on a regular basis.

Third, keep the area around your garden free of clutter and weed growth.

Finally, consider using mulch or ground cover to further improve the appearance of your garden. By following these tips, you can maintain a clean and tidy garden that you can be proud of that will help deter deer from invading your plants.

Final Thoughts on How to Keep Deer from Eating Your Plants

Keeping deer from eating your plants can sometimes feel like a hopeless cause. Deer love to eat just like we humans do.

We love to go out to eat at our favorite restaurants because the food tastes so good, we love the friendly and accommodating service and atmosphere, and it is so convenient to have someone else prepare the meal for us.

Deer are not so different when it comes to inviting themselves in to feed on our garden plants.

Keeping the lure of a good meal restricted, not making it so easy, convenient, and comfortable to eat your garden plants, and making it more difficult to get to the food, will reduce the casualties of your plants, vegetables, and fruits in your garden.

Deer are clever animals and they will figure out a way to get to an easy and nutritious food source. Making it a little more difficult, and uncomfortable is a good start at protecting your garden plants. 

Do you have any tricks, tips, or strategies of your own that we have not mentioned in this post?  If you do, we would love to hear them so we can pass them on to others who want to protect their gardens from deer.

If you have any further questions about deer and your garden, feel free to leave a comment below. We’d be happy to help!

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