As a child, many of us saw Bambi. We thought deer were noble and beautiful creatures. That view persisted into adulthood for most of us– until our gardens were overrun by deer and stripped to the bone. All of our hard work and expensive landscaping were gone. How to get rid of deer without harming them? There are several ways to keep deer from ravaging your landscape.
Fences. A fence around your garden can help keep rabbits and chickens off the premises. You can build a deer fence, too. However, since deer can gracefully jump over a six foot fence, you would have to build an eight to nine feet high fence to keep them out. Not only is this expensive, it gives the appearance of having a maximum security garden.
Instead of an eight foot fence, you can build a six foot fence around your garden, then back up six feet and build another six food fence around the whole thing. The double fences make it difficult for the deer to soar over both of them and get into the garden. Again, this is expensive and somewhat unsightly.
Motion sensors that trigger a sprinkler, lights, or alarms work well for the first few weeks they are used. However, the deer quickly figure out these products will not harm them. They simply avoid the area that has these devices and chew on other parts of the garden. This is true even if the products are moved regularly.
Scent repellants. For years, people put bags of human hair around the gardens and flower beds. At first, this would scare the deer because of the human sent on the hair. However, today’s urban deer population is not afraid of human scent because they have learned it won’t hurt them. The hair does nothing to deter the deer and looks unsightly.
Another scent determent is to put predator urine based products in and around your garden. These scents must be replenished every two weeks to work well. They also smell so bad to human noses that they may take the pleasure out of working in the garden for you.
You can also let your dog mark around your garden, since most deer are afraid of dogs. However, it has the same drawbacks as predator urine and may drive you from your garden instead of the deer.
There are plants that deer do not like to eat. These include the mint family, ornamental grasses, iris, foxgloves, yucca, herbs and plants with a strong fragrance, such as sage, chives, lemon balm, bee balm, etc. However, no plant is truly deer proof as a deer will eat almost any vegetation if it is hungry enough.
The best solution for getting rid of deer is to adopt as many of these recommendations as possible: fences, motion sensors, and possibly scent repellants. You can also plant more flowers than you can use and let the deer eat those plants while they leave your plants alone. This works especially well in conjunction with a fence around your garden. The deer would much rather eat the easily accessible food outside the garden than go over the fence and get your plants.