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Wedel's Nursery, Florist and Garden Center

Deterring Deer

Deer may be beautiful and elegant, but they aren’t always welcome in the garden. Even just a few visiting deer can tear up a landscape, eat an entire crop, destroy a carefully cultivated bed and cause other havoc, such as creating a traffic hazard, damaging bird feeders or leaving behind unwanted “gifts” on sidewalks and pathways. But how can you keep deer out of your yard and away from your garden and landscape?

Popular Deer Deterrent Techniques

People try all sorts of home-grown methods to keep deer from destroying their landscape and gardens. Some of the more common tactics include…

  • 8 ft. fencing, including wire or electric fences
  • Big, loud dogs on guard in the yard
  • Deer repellents, like Repellex should be applied once a month
  • Predator urine or other anti-deer scents, like Shake-Away (Shake-Away granule packets lasts about 90 days).
  • Motion detectors connected to lights or sprinklers

All of these methods work but are limited in their effectiveness. Fencing is costly and unsightly. Repellents and urine eventually wash away. Sprinklers or lighted areas can be easily avoided. So what can you do to keep deer away permanently?

Deer are creatures of habit and they are easily scared. Anything you can do to mix up their habits or make them think there is danger nearby might be enough to make them go elsewhere in search of food. But deer aren’t foolish and if they realize the danger isn’t real, they will return. Therefore, you must rotate any scare tactics you try and reapply repellents frequently. This can be a lot of work to keep your garden safe, but you can make your garden do the work for you.

Plants Deer Won’t Like

While deer in large herds with insufficient food will eat almost any garden vegetation, particularly in harsh winters, you can opt for plants that aren’t popular with deer to minimize deer damage. At the same time, avoid planting favorite deer plants, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, yews, roses, Japanese maples, winged euonymous, hemlocks and arborvitae, as well as any edible garden produce.

So what can you plant in your landscape to discourage deer? There are many attractive plants deer will avoid. The following are rarely damaged by deer.

Trees

  • Beech
  • Colorado Blue Spruce
  • Honey Locust
  • Red Cedar
  • Red Pine

Shrubs

  • Barberry
  • Forsythia
  • Lilac
  • Boxwood
  • Junipers
  • Bittersweet

Try using these less deer-friendly plants to create a dense border around your yard and garden area, and deer will be less inclined to work their way toward the tastier plants.

There are several other plant choices that are seldom damaged by deer. Stop in to Wedel’s and pick up the complete list of over 50 “seldom damaged” trees, shrubs and evergreens.

When these plants are included in your landscape, combined with other deterrent techniques, it is possible to have a stunning landscape without being stunned by deer damage.

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