59January 12, 2017

On a few of the nights riding home after work, I have seen deer crossing some of the neighborhood roads. If the deer are moving around, they are usually looking for food. In some cases, that food turns out to be the plants in your yard.

There are many shrubs that deer love to eat. Arborvitae and yews are near the top of the list. Rhododendrons and, of all things, holly are readily eaten by deer. Considering how much you have invested in your shrubs and trees, you want to discourage deer from eating your plants. One of the more effective ways of doing this is with deer repellent.

Deer repellents work by using a smell and taste deterrent. Deer will usually smell a plant to see if it is something that they want to eat. Next, they will take a little taste to see if it tastes good. If the plant passes the taste and smell test, you will have a smaller plant in no time. Deer repellents use a mix of things that smell bad and taste bad to the deer. There are literally 100’s of different formulations of deer repellents. Some use the extracts of herbs. Some repellents incorporate different type of oil of pepper to dissuade the deer. One of the things that I have learned over the years is that alternating between different types of repellents works best at stopping deer from eating your plants. The key to effectively using deer repellent is to get it onto the plants before the deer discover the salad bar in your yard. If you wait until the deer are browsing, you may have a hard time stopping the damage.

Deer repellent should be applied in such a way that all parts of the plant are covered. For this reason, liquid formulations are easier to apply for thorough coverage. You will need to do repeat applications during the season. If you can stay diligent with your applications, you have a good shot at sending the deer to some other unsuspecting gardener’s plants. If you need deer repellents, we carry several types in the store.

Another way to discourage deer is to cover the shrubs with deer netting. Deer netting is usually a black plastic netting that you drape over the shrubs. When the deer try to nibble on the shrubs, the netting has a strange feel in the mouth of the deer. This is usually enough to spook the deer and make them move on to greener pastures or backyards.

Once the snow starts to build up and the temperatures drop, deer will go looking for food. By taking preventative measures before the deer find your shrubs, you have the best shot at keeping your shrubs in one piece.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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