When you were small a certain natural excitement may have come up in you every time you saw a deer, and you may occasionally having that feeling again. The issue is that the animal may no longer be as fun to have around when they’re eating more from your vegetable garden than you seem to be doing. You put significant amounts of energy into getting good quality soil with a bunch of initiatives as well as installing an irrigation system.
You might even have gone out and rented a rototiller to help loosen up your otherwise very compacted soil, or you might rather have hired a landscaping company for the purpose. The point is, you put in significant amount of effort to get to where your garden is now, and now all the fun is being taken away by some determined deer that don’t seem to want to leave your garden alone.
Things That Attract deer
Before we start talking about how to go about getting rid of them, it might make sense to start looking at how to attract them. The logic being if you know what attracts them, it should also be easier to get rid of those things that are making your garden a nice place to hang out.
There are different things that will make them want to come back that includes foods, scents and different plants. Let’s take a look at them underneath.
What You Plant Matters
They naturally will keep coming back if you provide them with a reliable food source, but besides that, different plants will also have an effect on keeping them around. Those plants include orchard grass, chicory and red clover.
There are also high-protein food sources that they love consuming. Corn, kale alfalfa, sorghum, turnips, soy beans and peas are some of the plants that they’re definitely enjoying snacking on.
Acorns or chestnuts will also be something they’re looking out for.
Apples Are Bad News
While there’s a certain romance to having apples in your backyard, you should also know that they do more in terms of keeping deer around than having them leave. There’s nothing better than going out into your backyard on a warm fall day and enjoying the beautiful tree and its fruit, but when having deer around is more a problem than anything else for you, you should consider if you really love the tree that much.
If you’re one of the people that will throw the remainder of your apple in the garden after eating it, this could also be something that they may have found, and if you’re doing it consistently, they could have found out. Instead, you can consider starting a compost pile and actually getting natural fertilizer from the initiative.
Should You Use Salt?
Salt can be in the garden when you have weeds that you want to get rid of, but you should know that this salt could be what ends up attracting the animal you’re trying to make leave your garden by itself.
While you may love your green grass that you spent considerable amounts of time getting to where it is, you should also know that too much of it is a nice invitation for deer. If you’re not very good at making sure that your lawn is mowed, know that it will make the space look more interesting to deer too. Tall grass is not just a nice food source for them, but it’s also a place where they feel safe.
As with tall grass, quiet places is a thing that will naturally draw deer towards it. Knowing that is something you can use to your advantage since you can then in turn set up things that create noise to scare them off instead.
Special Food Sources
If your garden has one of their preferred food sources that is generally scarce in the area, that may also be the reason they keep coming back. If you have all the same plants and vegetables as your neighbors, that’s probably not the reason for their continuous reappearance.
Getting Rid of Deer in Your Garden
Now that you have a better understanding of what actually attracts them, and therefore things that you may want to avoid having in abundance in your garden, let’s go ahead and take a better look at what can be done in order to keep them out.
Installing a Fence
Remember how we said that tall grass would serve as a nice place for them to feel safe in? If you go ahead and install a fence around your property, it not only increases your home’s resale value, but it will also make the deer a lot less likely to keep coming back. If you’re not planning on installing it all the way around your property, you can at least install it around the vegetable garden. A cheap option to go with includes a chain link fence, although if you want something that is a bit more visually appealing a wooden one might be what you want to consider instead.
The taller the fence is, the better it will be at keeping them out, and it can even be made of simple wire. The issue with it is if the deer starts jumping on it, it might not be able to withstand the weight, which is also a reason why you will want to have it be relatively tall, preferably at least 10 feet. If it slants outwards, it will also be tougher for them to get over it.
You can go with an electric option assuming it’s actually allowed in your county, but it won’t be the least expensive option, and chances are you don’t need measures quite that serious to get the job done either.
Smells That Will Keep Them Away
There are smells that will help keep deer away, and it won’t be because they smell nice. Using these things, you can be sure that the deer will think twice before going into your garden to look for food. We said that these things will help keep your garden free of those plant-loving animals, we didn’t say that they would smell good for you either.
Making a rotten egg spray may seem like an extreme measure to take to keep your garden to yourself, but rest assured it will work. It won’t kill your plants, and you will definitely want to wash vegetables with vinegar if it’s been sprayed on them to keep the deer from eating them. Vinegar is in fact one of the best natural things to clean your home with.
On to the rotten egg spray. It’s very easy to make. You just take 5 raw eggs, 5 cups of water, some milk, cayenne pepper and cloves of garlic and blend it all together. It then needs to be sprayed outside, which can either be done on the perimeters of your property or on the plants that you see the animals having fun with. The spray bottle needs to be cleaned properly afterwards to make sure you can use it again when need be and so that it doesn’t get clogged.
It turns out the animal isn’t a great fan of spicy peppers, and that is something you can use to your advantage. Instead of going stinky, you can go spicy!
Blend habanero peppers together with water until it turns into liquid form. For 4 habanero peppers, that usually around 1/4 cup of water. That will do the trick. When that’s been done, you will want to use a coffee filter and strain the mixture which will leave you with all those juices needed to keep the deer away. This filtering is done so that you can actually use the remains in a spray bottle and avoid it clogging up. Next go ahead and mix it with milk and olive oil (3 table spoons of each will do). Now this needs to be mixed with 10 times the amount of water as you have mixture and the final solution can then be sprayed on plants. With this method, it’s important that you’re careful in handling the peppers or you might otherwise end up in situations that are less than pleasant.
With both of the two sprays, you should know that it can be needed that you reapply it, especially if there’s been a lot of rain that will wash it away. It’s also a good idea to use them around March to have the best results because of the feeding patterns of the animal. This is usually when they’ll be determining where they should be feeding the remainder of the season.
Other Natural Solutions
Keep Man’s Best Friend
Deer like to not be interrupted and that will not be the case if you have a dog that will eagerly chase it around on your property, likely with very little luck. Your kids will likely love you for finally giving in, and taking your dog for a walk is a great way to teach kids about responsibility, it’s also a fun activity to do with them. When the deer learn that there’s a dog around, they won’t be as excited about coming back continuously either. If you’re getting a dog, you might also be interested in reading our post on dog-proofing your home.
Use Chili Straight on Your Plants
The idea is the same as creating a solution that includes it, but spraying it straight on the plants will simply mean you don’t have to first blend it and then spray it. The disadvantage of doing it this lazy way is that it won’t stick as well since it doesn’t contain the milk that is intended to help it stick and you will therefore need to reapply more often than if you actually create the solution.
Flowers and Plants that Keep Deer Away
The same way there are flowers and plants that will naturally attract the deer to your garden, there are also ones that will help in keeping them away, often because of the smell that they emit. The good thing is that some of these things you might even enjoy eating yourself. Isn’t that just perfect! It enhances your food with beautiful flavors while keeping this animal away.
You might have guessed that since they don’t like chili, one plant that you can consider planting to help you out is in fact…. Chili! You guessed it.
Another plant that they don’t like includes mint, but thyme rosemary, and sage will also do the trick. They will help make sure you have the garden to yourself if you choose to plant these along the edge of where you want them to stay away from.
Plants that you can plant to have a deer-free garden include some of the following
- French marigold
Wouldn’t you just love to have fresh asparagus and garlic for your cooking? I know I would!
Lavender is also a thing that is commonly used in gardens as a way to repel deer because of its efficacy. You can either spray it or plant it, and you’ll be more than likely to not have them running around uninvited.
Does Human Hair Keep Deer Away?
We did a lot of research on the topic, and there doesn’t seem to be a general consensus that this in fact works. The theory is that they see humans as potential enemies and that when they pick up on the smell of humans that would be left from human hair, they won’t be coming back. Since there are less creepy ways of going about this project, which doesn’t include asking your hair dresser to collect all the hair that she cut off, as well as its questionable efficacy, we’ll suggest that you try other measures before and leave this one out for now. It could work, but there are other things that will likely have a much better effect.
Using Noises and Light to Scare them Off
It usually doesn’t take much to scare them off, and if you have old CDs lying around at the home, those can be hung. When light reflects on them, it can scare off the deer. The issue is that this method becomes less effective when there’s no sun around, like at night when the deer is likely to actually want to eat away at your plants.
You can also hang things that will make noises when they hit each other. Old pots and pans is a possibility and it will usually be enough of a nuisance or scare that deer won’t want to go near it. The issue is then if you don’t actually fancy having those noises coming from your garden, it could become rather bothersome.
Homemade and Natural Deer Repellent
Commercial Solution to Consider
You might not have imagined that someone actually made such a product existed, but it does. So what are some of the advantages? Remember how a lot of the previous solutions relied on smell? Well, with this option you won’t have anything stinky around your garden, and animals as far as 30 feet away may receive a splash of water in their direction with this solution. The only issue with this option is that it might be slightly inconvenient if it needs to be placed where you often go. Kids will, however, love it. It’s less ideal if you have a dog that might end up either playing with it or getting frustrated over it, but if you have a dog, you probably don’t have a deer issue.
Animals have a stronger nose than humans do, and Deer Off is one of those products that will help keep deer away, thereby its name. When it dries, it will no longer have a scent that is detected by humans, and they boast that it will be an effective solution for as long as 3 months. Although it’s clear from its name which animal it was intended for, it will also help keep away squirrels and rabbits, and it doesn’t pose a risk when you need to make sure that your garden is childproof either.
There are other similar products available on the market too and once the deer try it out, they’ll soon find out that it isn’t something that they like.
A light at night
Sine they’ll often feast when it’s really quiet and there isn’t too much light, you can either have outdoor lighting installed, or you can buy something like a Nite Guard predator Control light, which will work by turning on when the sun goes down without you having to do anything. Getting motion sensor activated lights installed can achieve the same results, and they can also be convenient when you’re driving up through your driveway and need more light.
If you’re simply wanting to get rid of them with no bigger installation required, you can get a Nite Guard. One added bonus is that the light is pretty serious, and it could even act as good protection against robberies.