When it comes to deer repellents, the amount of really bad information on the Net is staggering, simply staggering.
Deer are creatures of habit; if they get used to eating and travelling on one route, that’s the preferred route and material they’ll eat along the way. So what is a plant they’ll eat in one location is one they’ll ignore in another. This makes a list of deer resistant plants very hard to get and the fact is, the list that works right across the continent is a very short one.
And control or damage levels also depends on the population pressure on plants.
You can fence them out or use some sort of deer deterrent on them. Liquid fence is a deterrent that is sprayed (it smells like “dead stuff”) 🙂 onto plants.
Part of our herd
My garden is on an island and we have a variably high deer population. In some years, it is not uncommon to see herds of 30 or 40 animals running the fields. In others, (mostly after a culled hunt) those herds are down to 4-5 animals. As you might imagine, with high populations, the pressure on local plants is quite high and even with low populations, gardening on the island is tricky.
My individual property is on a deer run. The animals wander across the front of our yard because this is heavily “infested” with lilac and sumac. There’s good cover for them in there and for years they’ve walked freely. Every shrub on our landscape has been “pruned” by the deer into very interesting shapes – including ones that are within 3-4 feet from the door. Growing tulips has been almost impossible (you can grow them but the buds all get eaten by the deer)
“Our” herd consists of a 2-3 year old buck, several does and fawns and they can often be seen on mornings browsing out in the apple orchard.
The challenge is impressive.
Liquid Fence as a Deer Repellent
In 2009, I planted 30 young cedar around the perimeter of our house area as visual blocks. Normally, young cedar are immediately browsed and grazed by deer and winter damage is always extensive. These cedars were planted directly on the deer run between the deer and the orchard.
I sprayed liquid fence monthly on these tender 3-foot tall cedar trees. No summer damage at all. No browsing and the deer passed them by – on a wide berth initially and towards the end of the season, they’d come a bit closer but never ate the plants.
The real test was a winter one. While we were away, would the deer take advantage of our absence to come closer to the house and munch. I sprayed just before we left – and 3 months later, on our return there was no damage to the plants.
I also sprayed 20 seedling maple trees (consider appetizers by deer and voles) out in our fields. None of these seedlings were touched by either the deer or voles.
The bonus in all of this is that the deer are still around but they have no eaten the cedar and maples and they did not touch the tulips this year.
Doug’s Bottom line
It was a single year’s trial but I had no plant damage. So while the bottle cost of this deer repellant is relatively high, the pleasure of not having damage was higher.
The value of a growing landscape plant far outweighs the cost of using this material.
I note this was a purchased product and I have no relationship with the company. I’ve written about other products and books here on my garden blog though.
You can check out the reviews and product here