Does Bambi like zinnias?

glendalekidApril 4, 2008

The local deer have made a path through our property from the woods in back. The path is away from all the flower beds, but Bambi has been known to make a detour to munch on a nice rose or a watermelon vine. So, has anyone had any experience with zinnias and deer?

I would like to use some of that area for zinnias, but not if they are going to be deer food.



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All the literature has zinnias as deer resistant. They've always left mine untouched even in times of drought and low natural food sources. It always goes without saying that absolutely nothing is deer"proof", but there are many things at least more resisitant. I hope this link works.

Here is a link that might be useful: Deer resistant plant list

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 9:12PM
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maineman(z5a ME)


Deer have sometimes damaged my zinnias by just walking through, but as far as I can tell they haven't actually eaten any zinnias.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 10:40PM
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newbie_in_nj(6b E/Central NJ)

Don't know if you have rabbits in your neighborhood but if Bambi doesn't eat the zinnias, particularly seedlings, Peter Cotton Tail will be more than happy to nibble them to the ground.

Starting my own from seed this year and have all kinds of sprays and stinky sprinkling stuff to try and keep ALL varmints away from seedlings this year but one can only hope.

Fencing helps but if it's not 5-7 feet it's useless against hungry deer. I'm going to try putting fencing about 2 ft. out from the perimeter of my Butterfly Garden and hope they can't reach inside. Planting alliums, lavender and nepeta all around the perimeter hoping to deter critters.

Don't know why I can't shake the compulsion to try and thwart the critters because some will inevitably get the young plants and/or some of the tasty blooms.

Hard to surrender!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 8:08AM
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maineman(z5a ME)


Thanks for the warning about rabbits. We have a lot of wildlife in this area, but so far I haven't seen a single rabbit. I guess I am lucky in that regard.

With regards to fencing deer, you will be lucky if a single 5-7 foot fence is sufficient. I heard that they can do a running jump of an 8-foot fence and that you need a second fence several feet out from the first fence to completely deter them. The second fence prevents the running jump.

This has been a hard Winter for deer here, because the snow cover has been so thick for so long a time that deer have been starving for lack of food. A serious decline in the deer population here this year is expected as a result. They are considering issuing a smaller number of deer hunting permits for that reason.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 12:12PM
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newbie_in_nj(6b E/Central NJ)

MM, I know you're right about the fences. Putting up anything short of Fort Knox with the double fences is probably more a function of making myself feel better than any real deer deterence.

We only had one tiny snow fall all season and there's plenty to eat for the deer but they prefer everything in people's yards including all the supposedly deer resistent.

The overpopulation of deer and out of control reproduction have totally destroyed the native understory fauna here. Big old trees of every kind were uprooted from winter winds. The natural woodlands are so far out of balance.

Local parks have actually increased their hunt allowances because of that native destruction. Naturally, residents don't have that option here.

Conversion of farmland to residential use over 35 years since my parents moved here have created a "natural" haven for deer overpopulation. 30-40 can be seen grazing in a half acre plot at one time.

Most things I've spent a fortune on have turned out to be 1% garlic oil mixes. Going to make my own from now on...LOL.

Only place I can't spray it is in the Butterfly Garden but I'll make my best efforts in other plantings. If the deer jump the single fence into the Butterfly Garden they may not have enough space to get a running start to jump out and I figure they'll just plow right through the fence to get out. I'm sadly aware of the futility of this halfway attempt but can't stop myself.

I figure I can always grow more annuals for first year bloom and/or buy them in cheap flats at some farms within a 45 minute drive.

Tougher to get perennials through to second year for most of them to bloom but if that's the worst problem I have I'll count myself lucky in the total scheme of things.

Why, oh why, can't they eat the forsythia that grows and spreads like a weed? It's gorgeous in bloom right now but it invades everything around it. Again, everyone should have such problems, right? LOL

Maybe we can apply for a Bambi relocation program from Jersey to Maine for you guys! It's only right we share our bounty...LOL.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 7:44AM
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maineman(z5a ME)


No thanks on that deer relocation offer. We have enough wildlife problems as it is. My daughter spotted a groundhog yesterday. Groundhogs have been my nemesis. Fortunately they don't like zinnias, but they seem to like nearly everything else.

On the subject of fences, is an electric fence an option for you? It isn't for me, because of children. But some people have suggested that you can "train" deer to be afraid of an electric fence by baiting it with something they might like to eat.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 2:33PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

Three foot wide 2x4" welded wire fencing will keep deer out.

Lay it flat on the ground where you want your perimeter. Deer cannot see what their feet are touching because their eyes are on the sides of their heads. They step on the wire mesh and think it is a trap. Because it's lying flat, they don't know how far inward it extends, so they won't jump it.

It really works. Dump some cracked corn on the ground in a pile where the deer pass, and put a triangle of wire mesh around it. You'll see.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 1:15AM
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maineman(z5a ME)


Thanks for that tip. It sounds like it might work. If deer become a problem for me, I definitely will try it.


P.S. I had heard that stringing up mono-filament fishing line might work for a similar reason. They can't see it, but they can feel it.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 9:41AM
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newbie_in_nj(6b E/Central NJ)

Ya know, I was thinking of laying out flat some left over bulb cages where the deer walk through the bushes along the driveway as a test to see if the theory that they won't tread over something in which they might get their hooves stuck. I have a lot of plants, including zinnia, that I'm going to be putting all along there that are deer "resistant" but don't want the seedlings/plants trampled even if they don't eat them.

What kept me from trying it? I had an image of finding a deer laying on the ground with it's hoof stuck in the grid and having to call the police to come get it. Thought I would be ticketed some exorbitant amount for an animal endangerment charge.

I'll have to check our state Fish and Game wildlife site (as if this would be covered) or call the local police. They'll be thrilled to be bothered with this question...LOL.

You've convinced me to use this technique around most of the Butterfly Garden for sure, Sue. I can't use it all the way around because the homeowner (Pop) would be screaming if we had to move it everytime he mowed along the one side that borders the infernal lawn. I'll use as many alternative means on that front side as I can find.

Nobody's nibbled what I sprayed so far this year but I'm certainly not getting lulled into complacency this early in the year. Especially in the Butterfly Garden where I can't spray anything except a flush of water (risking powdery mildew) or a soap wash if things get out of control with nibblers of the insect sort.

I better see some darn butterflies in that garden...LOL.

Thanks for the laid fencing tip. I'm psyched. It takes so little to please me.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 2:49PM
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Thank you all for the assurance that I can plant some of my zinnias outside the house fence. The deer are not hungry as they have plenty to eat. Problem is they will veer off their normal path for something they really like. I don't have rabbits or groundhogs here.

I had to fence a raccoon from getting in the garden the other day. Apparently, he's also been getting into the raised beds I have my flowers in, and I can't fence him out of there. Here I've been blaming my daughter's dogs for that diggng. LOL. I did get to wondering why he picked some beds and not others. Realized that the beds he left alone had recently been sprinkled with coffee grounds, and the ones he got into hadn't. Hmmm. So, I'm trying an experiment, putting coffee grounds in all the beds he can get into to see if he will now leave them alone.


Thank you for the deer resistant plant list. I've bookmarked it as I'm sure I'll need it again.


Thanks for the tip on the fencing. I have a roll of 2x4" wire fencing. They call it dog wire here. I am going to have to put deer fence of some kind around my melon and squash patch. This may very well do the trick for me.

My next-door neighbor has a four-strand electric fence around his garden for the deer. I did notice the other day there were raccoon tracks going right across in there.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 1:44AM
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newbie_in_nj(6b E/Central NJ)

It's also a good idea to check your local extension web site to see their reported experience for deer browsing.

In our area the deer "sometimes severely damage" Heliotrope and Stock.

I couldn't resist the Helioptrope (blue) but will keep it in containers around the deck rails and in hanging baskets for the butterflies.

After dividing Bearded Iris last Fall I tossed some of the 30 year old "mama" bulbs way in the back of the woods. Last week I saw some deer munching on something back there so went to check it out. It was the Iris I'd tossed out in the Fall and those old diehards had put up new green fans and were doing just fine, thank you very much, in a pile of leaf mold located in a sunny patch opened up by a felled tree. They'll probably do better than the side bublet "babies" I relocated...LOL.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 3:26AM
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Iris are definitely the survivors of the plant world. I've not seen the deer bother our iris on the back of the property, but they sure munched the heck out of my new Rose of Sharon last summer. There is a 20-foot Rose of Sharon planted by the previous owner. After I saw what they did to the one I planted -- I wondered how that one got to be 20-feet tall. LOL.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 2:23AM
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macthayer(z9a NV)

So far the deer have left me alone, but then, most of my plantings are close to the house or inside an enclosed courtyard. But not all. I was having a terrible time with the veggies -- rabbits, gophers and racoons -- so everything was getting chewed! Then we started with the Have-A-Heart traps. We caught 5 racoons and moved them to a local "Nature Area" (300 acres - plenty of room to spread out). Now the bunnies were a different story. Sorry, but I LIKE rabbit, so they ended up in the stew pot. And the gophers? It's been a two pronged approach. One is to drop bubble gum down their holes. It stops them up and they die (I know, it sounds mean, but we were being over-run with gophers and there just weren't enough natural predators to take care of the booming population. This works for moles as well. ). The other thing I tried was moth balls. I put them everywhere I didn't want critters - in my pots, around my veggies, and around some flowers that had been chewed on. The chewing stopped. I was able to harvest my veggies with no further damage. Amazing! I've been told this also works with squirrels and chipmunks, but I can't swear to that.

As far as the deer are concerned, I learned from a book that it is extremely important NOT to plant anything around the perimeter of your home that would draw deer towards it. Or in other words, surround your home with plants that deer don't like. They are much more likely to just pass you by and not ever find those tasty tidbits you planted closer to the house. That's essentially what I've done with my place, and I really live "out in the sticks".

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 5:58PM
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The house fence encloses about 3/4th of an acre. But that leaves an acre open to Bambi. So, for that area I'm trying to go with deer resistent plants.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2008 at 2:31PM
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