Deer summary for the year
I had another rough year for the deer. The overall damage was not horrible like last year, but I ended up spending way too much time messing with sprays, fences, etc and too little time left for my trees. My deer problem is particularly bad because there are many deer, I have a smorgasbord of food for them, and I let them get a foothold and they now know where to come for the best goodies in town. The Plantskydd is the one liquid that really worked, but even one good rain would give the deer an opening. Deer Out was OK, I could get complete coverage with it which was better than the Plantskydd I pained on, but it did not work quite as well.
But, there is some good news for a change. A few months ago I got one of these motion detector sprinklers (Contech Scarecrow) and it completely protected the area I aimed it at, a low-hanging limb on my GoldRush they were chewing to death. These sprinklers are a different level of scare, they randomly fire and keep firing every eight seconds, the randomness spooks them unlike other scares. The only problem was it could not protect my whole yard. I finally decided to fork over the $$ and bought a crew of eight sprinklers total (for 1 acre), hooked up to three hoses. You can daisy chain as many as you want, I also purchased several 50' hoses to chain them (I first tried 25' and that was too little). With eight sprinklers I have all parts of my yard covered. I have found only one damaged tree since getting all eight up and running, and I think that was caused by not having one of the hoses on.
If you are interested in trying these sprinklers for a serious deer problem here are a few tips. They need to be spaced about every 30-50' or the deer will find the unprotected area. If the frontier is protected you can devote less effort to the middle -- all of my eight are within 20' of the property edge. They will fire on you as well, something that can be very annoying. I purchased hose timers to make sure I don't get sprayed, I run them from 10PM to 7AM. The total cost is pretty high, I think I spent about $500 for all the sprinklers, hoses and timers I am using. If you want to use a timer make sure the timer will run all night, the first one I bought would only run for 4 hours max. I am now using Orbit 62001 timers and they work well. You can only set it for 6 hours but you can set four periods so I set two periods one after the other and it works fine.
Issues I have had: one of the sprinkler bottoms broke when I tried to push it in the ground, but the company had a new one to me in a week -- very responsive. They go through batteries pretty fast. Try to make sure there is no regular car traffic or people triggering them, that causes the batteries to really go fast. Obviously they will cease to work once it gets below freezing. I am not looking forward to that, but fortunately the winter activity is a relatively minor problem.