How can I Keep Deer out of my Garden?

Mary McMahon

Deer in the garden can be devastating, as they tend to eat plants indiscriminately while trampling others. Therefore, keeping deer out of the garden is a priority for many rural gardeners, who often invest a substantial amount of time and money in an assortment of schemes aimed at keeping deer out. A number of myths abound in the gardening community about what can be used to help with keeping deer away, and for beginning gardeners struggling with deer, this can be almost as frustrating as the deer themselves.

Lavender can be used as a deterrent to keep out deer.
Lavender can be used as a deterrent to keep out deer.

The one sure way to keep deer out of the garden is to build an extremely tall fence. At a minimum, a deer fence should be 10 feet (three meters) tall, although deer have been known to jump fences of this height. A variety of materials can be used to make a deer fence, so that it will mesh in well with the house and surrounding area. Establishing a hedge for keeping deer out can also work, although this represents several years of commitment.

Planting daisies may help keep deer out of gardens.
Planting daisies may help keep deer out of gardens.

If a fence is not an option, you can undertake several measures to make the garden less appealing to deer, in the hopes that this well keep them out. Planting a dense garden is an excellent way to start keeping deer away, as they do not like confined spaces. In addition to keeping your plantings dense, make sure that the paths between them twist and turn, and that a clear view is interrupted by trees and garden features.

Deer don't like dense gardens because of the confinement.
Deer don't like dense gardens because of the confinement.

Planting deer resistant plants, especially around the edges of a garden, can also help with keeping deer out. All of the following plants tend to be unappealing to deer, although they are not deer proof, as deer will eat anything when they are hungry enough. Try planting snapdragons, salvia, petunias, nicotiana, alyssum, marigolds, begonias, columbine, foxglove, lavender, nepeta, daffodils, hyacinths, bee balm, butterfly bush, holly, daisies, tiger lilies, wisteria, bougainvillea, iris, yarrow, narciss, dahlias, juniper, scotch broom, and ornamental grasses, as these are some common deer resistant plants.

Deer resistant plants, like marigolds, can help to keep deer out of a garden.
Deer resistant plants, like marigolds, can help to keep deer out of a garden.

Finally, some gardeners use solutions which blend things like garlic, cayenne pepper, soap, egg, or urine with water, spraying the solution around the garden and refreshing it when it rains. All of these substances are distasteful to deer, and they may avoid plants or areas sprayed with them. However, deer in different regions respond differently, so it may require some experimentation to find the best solution. Commercial deer repellent is also available, and gardeners have varying success rates with these repellents.

Deer resistant plants may include salvia.
Deer resistant plants may include salvia.

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Discussion Comments

sevenseas

Poppy, crocus,lupine, Shasta daisy, larkspur, and thyme, are some additional plants that deer finds unappetizing. You can also use a natural spray on your plants and herbs to keep the deer away.

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