Deer Proofing Your Garden

I’ve not had any deer problems in my flower or vegetable beds at the Garden Home Retreat. That’s bold statement for any gardener to make, but it’s especially risky considering the fact that the Retreat is surrounding by woods. There have plenty of deer sightings, but they don’t seem to be interested in the gardens.

I’m not sure what to attribute this to, but I know it won’t last forever. Eventually the deer are going to drop in for a visit and as we all know they are the type of guests who never leave.

Although I want to take precautions I also realize that deer and other wildlife were here long before I arrived. So I’m choosing measures that will keep me in good stead with my wild neighbors. Some of my solutions will also work for you in your garden home.

Deer Fence – I was given this tip from gardener and author Betsy Clebsch. She showed me how to build a deer proof fence. Deer can jump pretty high, but they don’t like to jump across a double barrier. So a fence inside a fence is much more effective than one tall fence. At the Garden Home Retreat I’m building two 4′ tall fences that are 5′ apart. The space between the fences will be wide enough for a wheelbarrow or lawn mower and too far apart for a deer to jump across. This is a good solution for small gardens or specially designated areas of a garden.

Deer Netting – I won’t be able to encircle the entire property with deer fencing so I’ll have to use some other defenses as well. I really like DuPont™ Garden Products Deer Netting. It can be draped over plants or attached to existing fencing. Deer don’t like the way it feels on their muzzle so they avoid it and whatever it is protecting. It’s a fine mesh material that is hardly noticeable against plant materials. It’s also UV-resistant so it will last a long time and can be reused year after year.

Plant Choices – Food preferences have not been a deciding factor when I chose plants for the Garden Home Retreat, but I am careful to avoid some of their favorites such as rhododendron, azaleas and hostas. Why risk ringing the dinner bell? I also planted 50,000 daffodils instead of tulips because deer won’t eat daffodils. Deer also dislike plants with a pungent fragrance like marigolds, lavender, boxwood and herbs. Fuzzy foliage plants like lamb’s ear are also not on a deer’s menu. Very few plants are actually deer proof. When food is scarce, they will eat just about anything.