Maintaining a garden means looking at nature a little differently. In the past, deer sightings were certainly a marvelous moment. These elegant creatures embody calm and beauty in a way that no rodent could. However, once you clear the land for a garden, plant the seeds, and begin maintaining a vigilant watch, every plant eating wildlife creature becomes a possible, and very real, threat to that garden. Here are some tips to keeping your garden safe.
There are a number of ways to protect your garden from woodland creatures, including deer, but, by far, the most effective method is a deer fencing. Whether you erect it yourself, or have a professional install it, a deer fence should be at least 8 feet tall, as deer can easily jump over anything shorter than that height. You might also choose to select two fences of lower height, placed, one- behind-the-other, a few feet apart. Deer do not like to get trapped within a space.
After the fence is installed, it is a good idea to place colorful ribbons, or anything that will flap in the wind, around the perimeter. Deer have poor eyesight. Flagging your fencing will prevent these gentle animals from accidentally running into it. After a few months, the deer will have grown used to the fence, and the ribbons will no longer be needed.
Deer can easily maneuver their way through a vegetable garden and will do the same to a flower garden. They will devour the vegetables, and trample the flowers, which is their natural instinct. However, these two actions are not the only danger deer represent. Deer carry ticks which can drop from them, and onto your property, creating a risk to you, and your family, for catching Lyme disease. While pesticides are always an option, many people do not wish to take that route, when an edible garden is involved.
In addition to keeping deer and dangerous ticks off of your lawn, and acreage, deer fencing provides numerous other benefits; including keeping, not just your garden, but all of your other plants safe from a plethora of wildlife creatures. As a bonus, this fencing keeps your pets safely inside your yard.
Plants Deer Favor
Everyone has their favorite foods to eat, and deer are no exception. If you must plant deer favorites in your garden, you can plant certain flowers and vegetation which they avoid, such as anything strong-smelling, around the perimeter, to help ward them off. If at all possible, it might also be a good idea to plant deer favorites closer to your home, for easy observation, to thwart the invasion, and then scare them away. You can keep your garden safe by planting things deer don’t like.
Some plants deer love to graze include:
- Azalea Bushes
- English Ivy
Plants Deer Dislike
Clearly, deer have healthy appetites, and not much will stop them when their bellies are hungry. If you choose to plant deer favorites, you must also take some sort of precautionary steps to limit their ability to enter, and feast from your garden. Consider planting:
- Ornamental salvias
- Bearded irises
Deer, of course, are not the only four-footed creatures that pose a risk to your outdoor garden. While deer are the largest predator, other animals can destroy your crop just as easily. Planting flowers and plants that deer dislike will assist with keeping them away. This prudent action, however, will do nothing to help prevent other furry invaders, such as rabbits, raccoons, voles, groundhogs, and squirrels from feasting on your vegetation. Good fencing, with a deep underground section, and overlapping, will help deter these smaller creatures from burrowing underneath.
You might find it necessary to try different options, all at once, to see what the best combination of deterrents are for the wildlife in your location. Other possibilities include:
Dusting the garden with soap. Look for soap that contains tallow, not coconut oil. Most bar soaps on the market will deter deer. Simply grate the soap bars finely, and dust the soil, between seedlings, with the shavings.
Make your own spray. Mix one egg, a tablespoon of dish soap, a cup of milk, and hot peppers, and spray it on your garden’s periphery at sunset.
Use auditory and/or visual deterrents. Deer and birds are easily startled. The best way to unsettle them into moving along, without destroying your garden, is to create an auditory or visual deterrent. Examples include hanging old CD’s around your garden. The reflective side will capture sunlight, and create confusion. Playing loud music, or hanging an aluminum can mobile, will frighten deer, and other creatures, away, when the wind or their movements causes the metal to collide. Wind chimes are more melodious for the human ears, more artful, and will also work well. Keeping your garden safe can be like music to your ears.
Whatever method you choose for keeping your garden safe, remember, that the first step is to identify the creatures in your area that are posing the highest risk to it. From there you can determine what actions to take. Of all the solutions, captioned above, fencing is the effective, sustainable, and reliable solution. It is the easiest to install and maintain and can be designed at lower heights and in color hues which are nearly invisible. The use of repellents must be frequently repeated. Planting the appropriate crops, to detract one species of foraging creature, attracts others, and restricts what can be grown.
It is your vision for the garden, time and effort spent, and expectations for an edible feast of healthy foods, and beautiful flowers that must be determined. The solution to deterring these furry, four-footed, “plant-eaters,’ is yours to decide.