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Deer Proofing Your Garden

Updated on June 7, 2013


Deer. Oh deer, you may find them to be cute, reminding you of Bambi but once they have eaten your prize roses your feelings may change.

You may get even more annoyed with these four legged eating machines when the vegetable garden you planned all winter long and so passionately prepared turns into a deer buffet. Deer will devour your greens and veggies and many of the ornamentals that we do love so.

What can you do?

Well first remember this, deer are just being deer and foraging for food where they can find it; it is not their fault that you have gone to so much trouble to lay a feast before their eyes.

Also one of the reasons that deer are becoming pests in areas where they were rarely seen is that human, through urban sprawl and other activities are destroying their natural habitat and hey they have to live and eat somewhere.

So how do you deer proof your garden? If you are growing vegetables, the safest way to do so is to build or buy a greenhouse. This will keep the deer out and keep you food safe from their hunger.

A greenhouse will also help keep another unwelcome garden raider away, the rabbit. A greenhouse is more effective than a fence

Now you could put up an electric fence; however, the price of energy is arising and adding to that bill offsets any gain that you may get from growing your own food.

Of course, a small solar panel could be used to fuel the fence. Deer when properly motivated and food is a great motivator, can leap pretty high. However, for a small garden plot an electrified fence can be a good alternative to the greenhouse.

Deer cannot sense electricity but will come up close to an object before leaping it so if they receive a shock, they are unlikely to proceed and will turn elsewhere for their meal.

If you want to grow organic vegetables then either a greenhouse or a solar powered electric fence is your best option for success. There are other alternatives such as repellants and some of these will work but they do need to be applied more than once over the season so if you forget, you may wake up one morning and find the cupboard bare.

There are ornamental plants that are not on the deer’s favourite dining menu and if there is soemthign they like handy, your ornamental garden might be safe. Rittenhouse has put together a list of plants that are deer resistant, just remmebr that a hungry deer is not a fussy deer.

Humans have destroyed deer habitat and humans have expanded their territory so that deer-human conflicts are all but inevitable. If you live in an area that has a large deer population and are a gardener then you will need to plan for deer control when you plan your garden.

This means that your costs will be greater than they would if you were gardening where there are no deer. The fence may trun out to be low-impedance electric fence, for a small garden, may turn out to eb the cheaper option. It will last 25 years or so whereas a poly green house will not even come close to lasting that long.

If you build a glass green house your cost will be higher. However, the added advantage to ether greenhouse is that unlike the fence they will extend the garden season both in the spring and the fall and this increases the yield and variety of plants that you can grow.

The choice is yours to make.


courtesy flickr/ Bob MacInnes
courtesy flickr/ Bob MacInnes

deer resistant plants


Submit a Comment

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Discounts are good, happy deer proof gardening.

  • CindiSummers profile image

    CindiSummers 7 years ago

    I never thought of that approach before, but it makes sense. I don't have enough money for a greenhouse yet, so I bought some Deer Off II. I got 10% off by signing up for their newsletter. I'll take whatever discounts I can get.

    Here's the repellent I'm talking about:

  • profile image

    Bill 8 years ago

    We are installing a 7ft high black plastic mesh (Deer Fencing / approx 1600ft) around our garden plots. By the end of the year we will know the results of our labour.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    I like the greenhouse approach myself.

  • cgull8m profile image

    cgull8m 9 years ago from North Carolina

    We have deer only in the deep woods luckily. Greenhouse is a great idea to ward them off.