Deer-ly Deported

Deer-ly Deported

It’s hard to grow a beautiful garden when your flowers are delicious… to deer.

To a deer your vegetables as well as your perennials, shrubs and even trees can be an appealing buffet. With that in mind, the following article will briefly touch on methods of humanely keeping away your garden intruders.

One of the easiest methods of deer control is to keep the plantings close to your house. If locating the plantings here is possible, it will take a very confident deer to eat your roses and azaleas whilst standing on your deck.

But hypothetically, if you were to have a socialite deer on your hands – brimming with confidence – there is another method of control one could try. Planting thorny shrubs and/or trees around the perimeter of the garden. As you can imagine, thorny branches aren’t a pleasure to have in your mouth and deer feel the same way. One could experiment with planting barberries such as the Ruby Carousel, which is a great looking shrub. If you are looking for something a little larger, a Russian Olive is a tree with a very unique look. Its foliage is very light in colour, almost silver, which is beautifully contrasted by it’s dark orange-brown bark. The branches are also home to some very large thorns, which are not very tasty.

If the sight of large painful thorns doesn’t scare away the deer, maybe what they can’t see will. Another method of preventing deer from entering your garden is the better-door-than-a-window method. By planting thick hedges which will grow relatively tall – such as cotoneaster or boxwood – around your garden, you inhibit the deer’s ability to see what is beyond the “wall”. If a deer cannot see what they are landing on/in they are not as likely to make a blind jump over said wall.

Speaking of jumping, another means of preventing deer entering your garden is by installing a deer fence. While the deer can usually see through these, they are physically unable to jump over them (at a minimum height of 8 feet). When Sherwood Nurseries was having problems with deer, this was the solution that we opted for, with very promising results so far.

If installing a slightly unsightly deer fence is not an option, one could also try to mask scents; make sense? Deer rely heavily on their sense of smell when locating their food sources, and we can use this knowledge to our benefit. By ensuring that some of your plantings are very fragrant, you can mask some of the more subtle smells of the “tasty“ plantings. Try planting lavender or mint to mix with the scents of the other plantings and possibly confuse the deer as to what exactly they are smelling. Using this same reasoning many gardeners swear by their homemade aromatic concoctions including ingredients such as: garlic, onion, chili peppers, and rotten eggs.

If odd smells won’t shake the menace, perhaps a scarecrow will. As deer are “flight” animals, it does not take much to spook them. Installing a scarecrow or even motion activated flood lighting may just do the trick. If you have a loud-barking dog or two, even better.

At the end of the day, those of us with green thumbs generally have a profound respect for nature and its beauty. Having said that, from time to time nature likes to remind us that we are in fact sharing the outdoors with our furry friends. We CAN coexist in peace when we plan for it.

If you have any further questions regarding animals interfering with your landscape please contact little creek so we can answer your questions and ensure that you Keep bringing your outdoor living dreams to life!