Then & Now
June 6, 2019
Some are smelly, others noisy, but they all have one purpose: deer repellents. Deer have been a gardeners nightmare as long as developments have taken over their feeding grounds. How people have dealt with them has changed over time, and some have to get creative to keep these hungry plant-eaters away.
Deer Repellents Back Then
Before any products were made to deter deer from eating plants, many gardeners used what they had around the house. These DIY methods of deer control are meant to scare away deer by sight and/or smell.
- Scarecrows. Fake decoys in the garden and fields only last until the deer realize it’s not a threat. It’s more convincing if any faux owl, dog, or other deterrent is moved around from time to time.
- Dogs. Let your dog run around your yard and spread their smell around the garden. Not only will the urine smell deter deer, but they’re sure to stay away while the pup is roaming free.
- Soap. Some people still hang fragrant bar soap around the deer-prone plants.
- Homemade spray. Use spicy and strong-smelling ingredients—such as garlic, pepper, and eggs—to spray the plant leaves. Switch up the ingredients so that deer never know what they’ll get.
Deer Repellents Now
Since many of the old-school ways of deterring deer need to be constantly reapplied and may not always be effective, gardeners now have gone more high-tech with their deer repellents.
- Electric fence. Building a tall fence works well as long as deer can’t jump over it. If the problem gets really bad, some have decided an electric fence is necessary.
- Electronic decoy. A deer may not care about a quiet scarecrow standing out in a field. Until it shoots water at the animals. Some products feature a motion detector that either shines a light on the late night snackers, shoots water on the early morning eaters, or sounds an alarm that could startle anyone.
- Commercial spray. More products are available at lawn and garden stores that are made to deter deer. Some don’t smell as bad as rotten eggs and garlic, but still get the job done. There are both spray and granular forms of deer repellents, but like the DIY options, they need to be reapplied regularly for better results—especially after a lot of rain.
What Works Best
Whether you use the old ways or the new, it’s up to you. Try them all and see what works best for your situation. One of the best ways to deter deer is to grow plants they don’t like. If this is not an option, contact the specialist at Elite Tree Care for more information about repelling deer in your area.