How to Coexist with Deer

Baby deer eating roseIn a perfect world, we’d all be able to happily coexist – all people and all animals living in harmony like one big happy family.  But like any family, there is always someone getting on someone’s nerves.  In many cases, it’s deer that are nibbling the roses in the flower beds or feasting on the crops in the garden.  To them your garden looks like a buffet & to you they look like unwelcome guests.

What can deter the beautiful but invasive pests? One site says clipping of human hair spread around the garden weekly will frighten them away.  From my own research, baby deer love to chew on my hair when they are trying to convince me I didn’t feed them and they need another bottle.

Another site lists a hideous concoction of spoiled milk & rotten egg spread around the garden regularly.  While this may keep the deer away, it might well keep all your friends away as well & attract some vermin.

Surrounding the property with fishing line at knee height so the deer will trip over it sounds like a trip to the emergency room waiting to happen when you forget the trip lines are strung.

Bob cat, fox and other predators urine sprinkled liberally over the garden will make the garden smell like a cat box and has not been proved to deter deer.

With no sure fire method of keeping deer away from precious flowers, fruits and veg, found,  it was time for me to Ask Bob. His answer is short and sweet.

“Build a big ass fence!” was Bob’s definitive answer.

He confirmed my suspicion that most deterrents are not proven and the only way to keep deer away is an 8 foot fence.  Alternatively, deer will not jump a 4 foot fence that is at a 45 degree angle.

One thing that does work to keep deer away from your prize roses is a mixture of cayenne pepper, oil, water and a drop of dishwashing liquid (this allows everything to mix together.). Spritz this mix on your plants regularly.  You can find multiple recipes online for this elixir.

Your only other option is to resort to plants that deer don’t like eating.  Check with your local horticultural organization for a list pertinent to your region.

Texas A&M Deer Restent Plant List

Texas Department of Agriculture Brochure