Deer Proof Flowers … Don’t Put all your Flowers in One Basket
Deer are a problem, especially around mating season. They cause car accidents, resulting in injuries (for them and humans!) and costly damages. They also destroy plants and trees, ruining landscaping.
The problem isn’t just isolated to rural areas. The overabundance of deer and their increased aggressiveness during the mating season is causing major problems in the suburbs as well.
Teresa, a friend who lives on a good number of acres just outside of a city, is dealing with deer. Her neighbors – rather the people who live closest to her – are causing some major headaches in that they actually entice the deer to come. They feed them, put out salt licks, and drive my friend crazy.
It’s not unheard of for her to see 20 or more deer on her property. What really unnerves her is they’ll eat all her new shoots, destroying her plants before she gets the chance to stop them. It’s also quite scary to drive on the road back to her house at dusk during the mating season. That period right before it gets dark are when the deer act out in frightfully unpredictable ways. They’ll charge your car … literally charge it.
She’s been through the ringer trying to keep the deer at bay and protect her landscaping. From deer proof plants to motion detector sprinklers … the bottom line is the more effective measures she puts in place, the less destruction she has to deal with.
Deer Proof Plants: Beware
Any Internet search for deer proof flowers will bring back a slew of results. From ferns to shrubs, there are plenty of plants that people claim deer won’t touch. Before you run out to your local nursery and stock up on deer proof plants, keep these few things in mind:
- Deer proof plants should really be called deer resistant: Depending on the time of year and their location, some otherwise deer proof plants will end up being deer dinner. There is no real “deer proof” variety. This is especially true in the winter when resources run low. Also, if you plant these on deer pathways, they are more likely to be eaten
- There is no such thing as deer repellent flowers or plants: Just because you plant a few deer proof plants doesn’t mean you’re now effectively protecting your other plants. A deer proof plant doesn’t emanate some sort of deer repellent qualities that will keep the deer away. The deer will still roam around, nibbling – and destroying – the other plants, even if they’re right next to deer proof ones.
- Some deer proof plants are more “deer proof” than others: Plants are often rated based on how often they are eaten. Look for ones that are rarely eaten.
Best Course of Action
Like Teresa found out after years of hard work, the best way to keep deer at bay is by employing several effective tactics.
Havahart repellents can last up to three months at a time to stop deer eating flowers and plants. Spray it on and make sure you reapply when needed. You can also condition the deer to stay away using an electronic deer repellent, which offers a harmless and not-so-pleasant static shock, and motion detector sprinklers, which startle them by noise and water. Whenever possible, keep plants up high, out of their reach. Deer will actually stand on their hind legs to get their meal!
If you can, build a deer-proof fence. Either one that is at least 8-feet-tall or a double fence that is 4-feet-high with a four-foot barrier between the next four-foot-high fence. Combine these with strategically placing deer proof plants around your yard and you should be finding relief from deer.