How to prevent deer damage this winter

Posted on November 14th, 2020

“Deer Daisy was here again.  I caught Daisy and her friends leaping over the stone wall this morning after enjoying breakfast in my yard.”  This is what my Poppy used to tell me all the time.  He would act frustrated but secretly he enjoyed seeing them leap, white-tailed, one after the other at sunrise in the garden.  As much as he got pleasure from Daisy’s morning shenanigans, he would have preferred if they did not feast on Meme’s favorite hydrangeas.

Poppy did not have all the deer repellents we now have available today.  He tried all sorts of home remedies; mothballs, soap shavings, bags of human hair, and metal pie tins tied to stakes.

Maybe they helped for a few days but Daisy was soon back again with her gang to do some more plant damage.  If only I knew then what I know now!  I could have helped keep Daisy out of the garden and my Poppy could have enjoyed watching them forage in the neighbor’s yard. (tee hee)

Daisy and her herd were creatures of habit.  They found a restaurant in my Poppy’s yard they loved to eat at and they went every day.  They sometimes ordered different things off the menu and feasted on Meme’s rhododendrons instead of her hydrangeas.  Deer are flexible and they will eat whatever is available, even if it is not part of their regular deer diet.

Most of you probably know this but I am going to pretend that I am telling you something groundbreaking.  Here it is…since deer are creatures of habit, we need to stop their habit before it even starts.  In other words, don’t let your yard become their favorite restaurant.  Start applying repellents before the deer start their winter foraging.  Deer are extra bold in the winter because their menu choices are limited.  They no longer have green grasses and wildflowers to feed on so they need to turn to woody plants.  This is when we start to see the damage to our trees and shrubs.

Poppy will be happy that I am protecting my Meme’s transplanted hydrangeas with effective deer repellents.  The best deer repellents contain putrescent egg solids, garlic, peppers, oils, and dried blood.  Delicious!  The deer really do not like the smell or taste of these products and the dried blood tricks them into thinking there is a dangerous predator in the area.  If applied to your most vulnerable plants before Daisy’s gang begins feeding this winter, you may not have any problem at all.  That is a pretty big promise on my part.  Maybe I should rephrase and say that you may have tolerable damage this winter.  That’s better.

Here is another ground-breaking secret…use more than one product.  I usually recommend a liquid product combined with a granular product.  A delicious recipe for success is, Liquid Fence sprayed on the plants combined with granular Deer Scram sprinkled on the ground around the plants.  Deer Scram can also be successfully combined with other liquid products such as Deer Stopper and Bobbex.  Switch up the menu folks so deer don’t get too used to the repellents.  Remember, just because one product worked last year, does not mean it will work again this year.  Deer Stopper makes a very cool product called a Barrier Ribbon.  This ribbon is 100 feet long and treated with repellent.  If staked 30 inches high, this can be an excellent deterrent for deer even entering your yard.

Yes, “Deer Daisy” is beautiful but so is your yard and garden.  Put up the “Restaurant is Closed for the Winter” sign on your yard before Daisy and her gang make this their regular eating spot.

Come see us at Van Wilgen’s.  We would love to help!