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Keep Deer Out of Your Vegetables

Updated on January 23, 2012
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Deer in the Garden

In areas where there is a deer population it can be difficult to get any of the produce from that garden you have been pampering all summer long. Not only do they browse and nibble on your best lettuces and heirloom tomatoes but they trample to zucchini as well! Short of camping out in the yard, what can you do?

Deer will make this only a fantasy with out a way to deter them.
Deer will make this only a fantasy with out a way to deter them.

Things That Might Deter Them

Deer fence can help but is not always an option. It is expensive and needs to be at least 10 feet tall to keep those tomatoes deer free. Depending on where you live there may be regulations about fencing, and most of us would rather our homes do not resemble a military compound,even if it does feel that way sometimes. An alternative would be to grow very tall hedges in place of fencing but, again, that is not always the best option.

Some people have had good luck in planting herbs and flowers that deer are said to dislike. To do this you would plant a wide perimeter of a combination of the following plants; marigolds, yarrow, bee balm, lavender, garlic, petunias, iris, and butterfly bush. Each of these is said to be repugnant to the olfactory senses of the deer, however when they get hungry I think they will eat about anything.

Remember that deer do not care for spaces that they can't see predators. by planting trees, putting up lattice screens, and adding garden clutter you may send a message that your garden is unsafe.

Spraying with homemade or commercial deer repellents can help. Homemade repellents are often made with garlic, egg, soap, or, oddly enough, urine. Some people have had excellent results strewing mesh bags of hair (human and/ or dog) around the garden but the hair must be dirty, not shampooed. Blood meal is another possibility.

Scaring the deer with bright lights and sudden noises can deter them. Try motion detector lights, aluminum pans or bells hanging from trees, or even large windchimes.

The point is that many things have worked. Many things have not worked. Many things have worked for a time and then not worked! Keep trying different things and plan ahead to plant extra to make up the difference. If nothing else, they are fun to watch.


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    • ronthelandscaper profile image

      ronthelandscaper 7 years ago

      Nice list of deer repellent tips. However, homemade remedies never worked for us. That’s why I use Deer Off. It’s the only one that’s truly organic. It’s got the OMRI logo on the label. Yet it’s more powerful than other brands because it targets both the sensitive taste and smell deer have. Scent alone doesn’t work as well on deer. And it keeps the rabbits away too. Much easier to use than messing around with hair and other stuff.

    • sukritha profile image

      sukritha 10 years ago from Cochin

      Good Information