10 Ways to Keep Deer Out of Your Garden

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10 Ways to Keep Deer Out of Your Garden

I know many of you deal with deer using your garden as an all-you-can-eat buffet and trampling everything in their path as they do.  While a little bit of nature right outside your back door is awesome, having them in your garden is not.  So, here are 10 things to try to keep deer out of your yard:

  1. Get a dog.  Their bark and chase should keep the deer at bay.  {Though, I admit, I am not sure how frightening Lucy would be to a deer 8 times her size}
  2. Clean out your brush.  Yep, you read it right.  Deer are repelled by human hair, so clean out your brush and string your hair around your yard like tinsel.
  3. Use row covers.  They can’t eat what they can’t get to.
  4. Sprinkle hot sauce on the plants the deer are munching on.
  5. If possible, plant the items deer are most attracted to closest to the house.  That way, you can keep an eye out and hope they won’t be brave enough to make their way up close.
  6. Plant a barrier of garlic, chives, mint, lavender, etc.  Pungent herbs will mask the odor of more pleasant smelling {to deer, at least} munchables.
  7. Plant thorny plants where deer tend to enter your yard.  A little prickly inconvenience goes a long way in deterring them.
  8. Plant thick hedges as a border around your garden.  Unfortunately, this blocks your view, as well as deer, but in desperation…
  9. Not to state to obvious, but when all else fails, fence them out.
  10. String fishing line around prized plants.  It keeps them out and confuses them.  I can neither confirm or deny that it would confuse me too.  Ha.

Do you have a problem with deer in your yard?  How do you keep them at bay?

~Mavis

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Comments

  1. Just read a new hint I had not heard before!.. Vicks vapo rub!.. just rub your thumb in the jar. .and fine coat a few leaves of the “deer food” plant. It is said it repels them instantly. .havn’t tried it yet.. the blog said to apply to new growth in spring because it will stick to the leaves as they grow out!.. this is nuts.. anyone else hear this ? or use this method?

    • I had a deer and her two fawns come in to eat my Jalapeno and tomato plants. They came in and started to dig up our newly planted lawn. I didn’t know they would do that. They are beautiful but very destructive creatures. What seems to be working for me is that I hung up really strong smelling dryer sheets. I tied them with twist ties and hung them. You can also use clothes pins. So far, it’s working.

  2. Jacqueline says:

    I don’t have problems with deer, but man, oh, man, the fruit rats are killing me here in Florida! Any ideas on how to deal with this issue?
    I just made the Strawberry Chipotle jam you posted the other day. It was the perfect thing to make with all these strawberries! YUM!!

    • Get a cat. I had roof rats taking bites out of my vegetables every single day. Until we got Dot…our calico cat. She is the best ratter ever. They were in our crawlspace above the ceiling, the garage…you name it. One year later I haven’t seen a single dropping in the garage and they are gone from our crawlspace.

  3. My pop-pop used to dangle a pie tin on a high stake to keep critters out. When it blows in the wind, it creates noise and a glare. ;)

  4. Around here, the deer only come out in the open after dusk. We have flower beds by our house that during growing season are full of plants that are attractive to deer, yet they don’t approach the house. The only explanation I have is the motion sensitive lighting we installed on our all four of our porches on all four sides of our house. The light stays on a low setting until motion is detected – then it goes to high and stays there for several minutes, then it goes back to low. Since we’ve put those in, we don’t see deer close to the house.
    Last year, I decided the try my hand at my first container garden. I put it along our driveway, out of site of our motion-sensitive lights. I planted tomatoes, green peppers, hot peppers, and attempted at corn (I got TWO good ears – EPIC FAIL). I really expected to lose some, if not all, of my plants to deer, but I had to try. I lost part of exactly one plant. It sat on the corner, at the “entry point” to the continers – the first plant a deer would come to. “Something” ate half the plant, and stopped. None of the other plants were touched for the rest of the growing season. It was a habanero plant. Hmmm…
    Just had a thought about dogs – would dog feces buried under a light layer of mulch (so you don’t step in it!) around the edges of the garden perhaps help keep deer away? I know we bury them in the mole tunnels and it seems to drive them away from those particular tunnels to keep the dogs from digging. I’ve never tried it, so I don’t know if it will work.

  5. You’re not going to BELIEVE this, but nurseries around here sell… (wait for it…)… lion pee! Yes, lion pee. Deer are still programmed to be afraid of lions, so they stay away from lion pee. Might not work as well in PNW if it gets diluted by lots of rain, but it works better than anything else around here (dry summers, near San Francisco).

    • I don’t even want to know HOW they get this lion pee.

    • My husband used to work for the circus. He once stepped in tiger pee. He said it ruined his leather shoes and he had to get rid of them because he couldn’t get rid of the smell.

      I always wonder if the urine that you spread is going to make your yard stink.

  6. My grandmother would collect the hair from her hairdresser every time she got her hair done. She take it and sprinkle it around her garden. She had a very large yard but she swore it kept even the nosiest deer away.

  7. We don’t have deer problems, but neighborhood cats destroyed my garden last year. We had to get a motion activated sprinkler. It not only keeps the cats out, but my kids too. I’m sure it would frighten deer as well.

  8. I swear by the human hair trick. We have deer freely roaming our neighborhood. They would come right up to the front door at night and eat any flowers I might have out there. Since I started putting human hair in the pots they won’t even come close. I cut my husband’s and son’s hair so I always have a stash on hand. I’m wondering if it will do the same thing for keeping squirrels out of my strawberry and raspberry plants?

  9. Julie Whitmore says:

    Nothing, nothing worked for me except an eight foot tall fence.

  10. Heather C. says:

    As bad as it may sound, human pee works, too, especially male urine. :-O Why do you think hunters pee in bottles? Last year I had dh fill a spray bottle with pee then (on a non-windy day!) sprayed it on the grass around the perimeter. I also sprinkle a round of baby powder in the same area. We have a ton of deer that regularly visit our backyard, but they didn’t touch the garden. In fact, since I haven’t taken precautions yet this year we’ve already had a lot of tracks in our freshly tilled garden since I’ve only planted peas and potatoes. You can buy coyote urine locally, but we also have a coyote problem and don’t want them attracted to the house and our chickens and ducks.

    BTW, we have approx 100 acres of woods behind the house (not ours), so we have a huge variety of local wildlife even including bobcats.

  11. 2011 I planted 9 – 50′ rows of corn. The deer didn’t find it until I got most of it picked. Last year I planted 11 – 50′ rows of corn, and didn’t get a single ear. There was a bumper crop, but the deer was eating it at about 4-7″. It was drought conditions and I was able to water. It got to about 8′ – 11′ tall. I understand that deer get most of their water from what they eat. They trampled the entire garden for 5 weeks. I staggered the planting by 2 weeks and had 4 different seed varieties. I told my son if he wants corn for his deer, he will have to plant it himself. — I also had pumpkins, aspargus, and raspberries planted in this section. —- My other garden has a fence and we see the deer on the outside of the fence looking in.

  12. We must have strange deer here in North Florida, because nothing works. Nothing. Last year we attempted our first garden. Our dogs would start barking when ever they heard them, but it didn’t even faze the deer. One night we had a total of 5 deer in our garden and we tried everything to get them out. Including setting the alarm off on the hubby’s truck that happened to be sitting in the back yard. They just looked at it. Then one morning I walked out on the back porch and had that feeling that something was watching me. There was a doe eating our corn plants. She just looked at me and proceeded to eat. It took me walking almost right up to her to finally scare her off. Hopefully this year they will leave us be, but I won’t be holding my breath.

  13. The deer that come around my parents home actually love their dog. They have about 5 deer that hop the fence and go back and forth between the different yards. The boxer and the deer have a love/love relationship going on. My parents got the boxer to scare away deer, people, whatever is bugging them but unless your afraid of getting licked to death she doesn’t scare a thing. Last year my mom called the police because all of her tulip heads were gone one morning and she thought it was kids ruining her flowers, turned out to be the neighborhood deers.

    • I went outside one morning last year to find all my hosta gone. To the ground gone. I thought neighborhood kids did it too, until my husband saw the deer the next night coming back looking for more. I’ve had those hostas for years, this is the first time this happened. Sadly, I’m sure it is because we continue to encroach on their territory (our neighborhood backs to protected wetlands).

      Glad I’m not the only one to blame the neighborhood kids!

  14. Dial soap! It sounds wacky but hanging it near or on the plants keeps the deer far, far away. We use it in the orchard to keep deer from stripping the bark of the apple trees and on evergreen saplings that the deer find extra delicious. People wonder why all our trees are wearing soap on a rope, but it’s cheap and lasts all season!

    Coyote urine works incredibly well on racoons digging up your garden as well, better than mothballs ever did for me. They kept stealing my bulbs so I was moved to drastic measures!

    • Where do you get coyote pee? I live in a small city (60,000) and we have raccoons in the gutters. They weren’t a problem until we had to put my dog to sleep last month. Last week one killed two of my chickens. It didn’t even act scared of me when I was yelling at it and throwing rocks at it. Took a spray of water from the hose to get it to walk slowly away.

  15. I’m with Jenn, if you have urban deer, they aren’t afraid of/repelled by anything. I have tried human and dog hair, human and dog urine, Irish Springs soap, pungent/deer resistant plant borders, hot sauce, blood meal, planting near the house, etc. They are hungry, so they eat anything, even things they aren’t supposed to like, i.e. my tomato plants, and they are used to noise/motion, so a running barking dog, security lights, car alarm turning on don’t even phase them. So far my 8′ 30lb test fishing line fence is working, but time will tell.

  16. I don’t have a deer problem but it town we are having what looks to be a possible locust plague. I am concerned. There are thousands of grasshoppers and I am worried. Something has started eating my chard and NOTHING eats my chard. It’s just eating it up completely.

    I just read that Florida is being overrun with giant snails. They don’t just eat the garden, they also eat the STUCCO ON YOUR HOUSE!!! That is even worse than deer or a plague of locusts. The shells can cause you to get holes in your tires.

  17. One of our local apple orchards ties cheap dryer sheets to their trees. They said it repelled better than anything they’d ever tried. But they also said the deer tend to get used to one thing and then you have to change it.

    I have 2 boy dogs who are kind enough to “fragrance” the area for me and that seems to work!

  18. Great tips for deer, but in my neck of the woods in North Central Florida the bane is squirrels. Any ideas on how to keep those darn critters away from my container gardens? We have tried Irish Springs soap, fake rubber snakes, mothballs, pee, and even a beebee gun-all to no avail. Those suckers are tenacious! And apparently ravenous as well.

    • Gerry, I don’t know if this will work for you, but try moth balls. Squirrels ate through the wiring under my mother’s car TWICE (craziness!) and the mechanic told her to put down moth balls. It worked for us in VA. It also keeps the neighborhood felines off our vehicles (can you say paint scratches – grr).

    • Grandma PattyB says:

      Gerry,

      I have squirrels too and I use cayenne pepper and sprinkle it all over the plants and dirt in the pots. Seems to work. You do have to replenish it after a rain. But I don’t know if Colorado squirrels are different from Florida squirrels.

  19. No deer, but moose, which I think are technically part of the deer family. I wonder if any of the deer deterrents will help?

  20. There is a natural repellent that will repel deer, rabbits, squirrels, woodchucks, voles, raccoons, dogs, cats, chipmunks, porcupines, beavers, skunks, mice and rats.
    It contains garlic, clove, fish oil, onion, wintergreen, dried blood and whole egg solids.
    It doesn’t wash off in the rain and lasts for weeks!
    It won’t harm plants or animals, and can be used around edibles.
    It is called Growing Season and is available from Nott Products.

  21. Urine! Hair, hot sauce, and more. I’ve tried almost everything and they still come back!

  22. Try a combination of approaches. I use Plantskydd and spray it on my plants, it has a smell and it tastes bad, a great dual approach. I also tie used dryer sheets and hang Irish Spring soap as both have a chemical smell. I am going to use the dangling pie tins as well, as my some of my hostas got eaten last year, even with all of those preventitive steps I took.

  23. I would advise against feeding roaming deer. By providing them a food source, you attract them to your garden and the garden’s of your neighbors. The deer may not be able to access your veggies, but this could be sabotaging your neighbors veggie garden. You never know when you could come between a Momma and her fawn(s). This can endanger you, your children, your neighbors, their kids, and anyone walking down the road…… You might not survive an encounter with a momma deer.. Deer in our neighborhoods should not be encouraged. They lose their fear of humans, and that is very dangerous..

    Mom has tried Bobbex, an all natural deer/rabbit repellent, highly recommended by my local plant farm, and the deer just laughed as they chowed down on her sprayed plants. My Mom has tried Irish Spring, Bounce dryer sheets, fish fertilizer, urine, human hair, aluminum pie plates that flash and bang together in the wind. She’s installed fishing line everywhere… It’s tough for us to access the garden, but the deer continue to come… They’ve eaten the new raspberry canes, thorns and all. They’ve eaten all her tomato crop. Short of installing an 8 foot deer fence, she may have to stop gardening…

    • Joyce,
      We had deer jumping our fence to eat our bushes and plantings. We bought some Growing Season all natural repellent from nottproducts.com and no more deer! We spray it every 2 weeks and they haven’t been back. It also got rid of the rabbits.

    • We had deer eating everything until we bought some Growing Season all natural repellent from nottproducts.com.
      No more deer or rabbits! We spray it every two weeks!

  24. Irish spring soap. Cut shavings of soap and spread around your plants.
    Works to keep Deer away. Worked on my hostas.

  25. I have used this organic mixture for many years & it works really well. In a 2 gal pump up sprayer I add 2 well beaten eggs, 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons veg. oil, 2 tablespoons dish detergent (add the detergent last due to foaming), fill to fill line with water. I spray my plants & flowers once a week & after a rain . I occasionally see deer in my yard but they move through without bothering anything. This works well only if the spraying is done consistently.

  26. Mothballs: DONT DO IT! It is against Federal Law to use mothballs in the yard or any other not approved way. Besides harming your soil, and endangering cats, dogs and other small animals, it does not “last” long as the active ingredient dissipates quickly. Mothballs are very toxic to dogs or any animal. You wouldn’t want to pay for the vet bill from the owner, would you? Mothballs also pose a hazard to young children. They can be easily mistaken for candy, or simply tempt young children to touch and play with them. Recent studies have linked naphthalene to illnesses, including nasal cancer.

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