Landscape Tips to Deter Deer
Watching deer in their natural settings doing what comes naturally can be beautiful. Unless their natural setting happens to be your yard, and what comes naturally is eating your favorite garden and landscape plants. Keeping deer out of your yard is possible, although it takes some ingenuity and persistence.
One method for keeping deer out of your yard is to grow plants that deer
don't like. Generally this includes thorny plants and ones with fuzzy or
leathery leaves-plants that aren't easy to eat or digest. Deer seem to abhor
lilac, flowering dogwood, American holly, and forsythia, but adore fruit
trees, cedar, yew, and lily plants. Keep in mind, however that as food
supplies decline, so do the deer's high standards for foods, and they will
eat food they don't like to stay alive.
If new landscaping isn't an option, deer repellents can be an effective
method of keeping them out of your yard. Repellents work best at the first sign of deer in your yard. If your yard has been a long-time deer diner it will be more difficult to get the deer to change their pattern and go elsewhere. You can purchase repellents from your local garden supply store or try making them yourself. Repellents work by scenting the area with a smell deer detest, or coating the plants in your yard with something that tastes bad, encouraging deer to find another location for dinner. Rotten eggs, garlic, and hot pepper all seem to work well and are found in many repellents
available for sale. Or try outlining the boundary of your yard with mesh bags
filled with Ivory soap, fabric softening dryer sheets, or any other human
scent to frighten them off.
Another option for keeping the deer away is to startle them with unexpected noises. This taps into their fear of predators and their need to be constantly alert for danger. You can purchase motion-sensing devices that emit a high-frequency blast at the first sign of movement in your yard. After several weeks, however, the challenge is to keep the noise unexpected so that it keeps startling the deer. This means you must continually move the noisemaker for it to be effective. A cheaper alternative to this method is to employ the family dog to bark and scare off the deer. At least you won't constantly have to move the dog to different spots in the yard every week.
The fourth option is to install a fence to keep the deer from entering your yard. The fence will need to be at least seven feet tall since deer are good jumpers. If they can't jump it they may try to go under or through your fence, so be sure the fence is staked securely and that the fence touches the ground. If you are facing a serious deer infestation consider installing a second fence several feet outside your main fence. Double fences tend to unnerve the deer and they are reluctant to jump them since they have poor depth perception.
Deer are strongly motivated to enjoy the tasty treats in your yard so you are dealing with a formidable adversary. While many opinions exist about how to keep your yard deer-free, few absolute solutions exist. Probably some combination of the above suggestions will be the solution to your deer
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