The U.S. is home to approximately 30 million deer, according to an article at actionbioscience.org, an educational website sponsored by the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS). These animals are so numerous that they’re causing conflicts with people. The same article reported that an average deer consumes almost 500 kg of vegetation annually.
Homeowners and garden enthusiasts should be wary when they spot a deer near their yard. When bucks (male deer) or does (female deer) go through a property, they can decimate fruit trees, shrubs, and tender perennials quickly. On top of that, they may carry ticks that spread Lyme disease, a debilitating illness that affects both humans and dogs.
The good news is that landscape owners can take steps to prevent their landscape plants from becoming a free all-you-can-eat deer buffet.
A Few Ways to Keep Deer Out of Your Yard
Eliminate Deer Attractants
If you have fruit trees or a vegetable garden, harvest the produce once it’s ready. This will prevent the deer from smelling or seeing something appetizing.
Let Your Pooch Spend Time in Your Yard
If your dog spots a deer, there’s a chance that it will bark. The deer, in this situation, will run off and may eventually decide that grazing in your yard is not safe.
Add Levels to Your Landscape
Deer dislike climbing up or down sheer or steep slopes. A yard that appears hard to navigate can deter these animals immediately. You can prevent does and bucks from entering too far into your property by adding stacked chopped wood, terraces, and sunken beds to your landscape. Deer are afraid to climb or jump on them and will look for another place to graze. If you have potted plants, keep them on a porch or deck. These animals are unlikely to try climbing the stairs to reach them.
Create a Border Using Hedges
Thick hedges, such as boxwoods, deter deer from entering your property. These line the perimeter of your yard and serve as a wall or a border, stopping deer from crossing through your lawn. Since these animals are unable to see into your landscape, they may choose to skip your property and go elsewhere. When introducing hedges, keep them well maintained, so they can continue to block the view of your lawn.
Build a Fence
Erecting a strong, tall fence around your home keeps most deer out. These animals, however, are high jumpers. When constructing a fence, make sure it’s at least eight feet tall and have no gaps taller or wider than six inches. This stops small deer from finding ways to squeeze in.
Install Tree Wraps or Plant Nets
Tree wraps are effective at preventing deer from nibbling produce and rubbing their antlers on trees. Wraps, however, may not look attractive. Additionally, some deer are intelligent enough to dislodge them from the tree. If you’re going to use this protection product to stop antler rubbing, put them up during the autumn when the deer begin marking their territories and take them off in Spring to avoid moisture damage to the trunk.
Alternatively, you can use netting to stop the deer from munching your precious plants. Place the net across top bulbs (this goes for squirrels too), young plants, and fruit trees, as well as over bushes to protect them from hungry bucks and does. This product safeguards your flora while still allowing light and water to enter.
String up Fishing Line
You can use a fishing line to make a border around a plant bed or other areas that draw in deer. String the line a few feet above the ground and pull it taut. This barrier confuses the deer, frustrating them until they give up and look elsewhere.
Put up Wind Chimes
Wind chimes create unexpected noise, which startles deer and makes these animals think that the area is unsafe. The deer, however, can quickly become familiar with their surroundings and may ignore these chimes when they hear them often. Varying the chime sound, such as switching from metal to wood chimes now and then, should prevent the deer from getting used to the sounds.
Add “Busy” Décor into Your Property
You can incorporate a few moving decorations to your yard that rotate, whistle, wiggle or spin with the power of the wind or sun. Unusual noises and movements will make the deer wary of passing through your yard.
Apply Proven Deer Repellents
Deer repellent products, specifically Deer Off® and Deer Away®, are great in obstructing a deer’s sense of taste and smell. These repellents give off a scent that prompts the deer of a decaying animal. This signals living creatures to vacate your property.
On top of that, some repellents taste like garlic, which makes it uninviting to deer. According to the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University, deer repellents minimize browsing on individual trees or shrubs by 50 to 75 percent.
If you want to achieve the best results, treat your plants with a proven repellent product before the deer begin grazing on them. These animals usually feed on trees from fall through early spring. During this timeframe, does are most hungry. By using deterrents early, deer learn early to stay away from your plants. They’re also likely to revisit the area again.
variety of crabapples would be of appropriate size. While it’s impossible to make a lawn completely deer-proof, you can fill it with flora that these animals hate. A few of such plants are:
- Thorny or Fuzzy Plants – Unless the deer are hungry, they will not go for prickly flowers, such as roses, or fuzzy flora, such as lamb’s ear.
- Fragrant Plants – Deer dislike fragrant plants with strong odors. Herbs, such as bearded irises, peonies, lavenders, ornamental salvias, nepetas, and sages, are some of the “stinky” flora that deer tend to avoid.
- Poisonous Plants – Bucks and does steer clear of poppies, monkshood, foxgloves, and daffodils. These common flowers contain toxins that are harmful to these animals (**please be wary of these plants if you or your neighbors have free-roaming pets).
These suggestions can ward off deer in your lawn. If you need help planting beautiful (and deer-resistant, as necessary) plants in your property, turn to Landscapes Unlimited. We offer professional front yard landscaping for homeowners and garden enthusiasts in Minnesota. Our design experts create unique outdoor living spaces that help add value to your home.
Get in touch with us today for more information.