Help on a school project regarding deer repellents

adudle00(9)September 10, 2011


For my biology project I'm trying to test the effectiveness of different deer repellents. The ones I'm thinking of using are: Plantskydd, Deer Out/Away, Deer Scram, Bobbex, Hot Pepper Wax and Treeguard. I'll be using five different plants, not exactly sure which ones yet but some possibilities are: tomato plants, roses, hostas, strawberries, clover and/or geraniums. (The cheaper the better, since I need to buy 7-8 of each). I have about an acre of yard to work with. My main question is whether I should use 1 repellent at a time, applying it to one of each plant and placing the plants around the yard that way, OR if I should use all the same plant at one time (ex, all hostas) and use a different repellent on each and place them around the yard that way. Basically, do I use all the repellents each week and keep changing the plant, or do I use only one repellent each week and one of each plant? I'm also not sure how 'far' the odors of some of these repellents reach. I don't want them to affect the results of another. I'm still trying to piece together how I should carry this out, so any advice, suggestions, etc would be greatly appreciated!

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linda_schreiber(z5/6 MI)

Here's some advice, and then a link to a great site that can help with all of this.

First of all, I know you are still in the planning stages, but you have an awful lot of 'variables' built in here... You might want to narrow down to three or four plants, and two or three treatments.

If you really need to use as many as five plants, I would pare down that list of repellents to 4, max. Check them out and see if they all work by 'smell', or some by 'taste'. Narrow down to the ones by smell. Or if they all are this, pick the four most popular. Or something. Narrow down the list.

It's good you have an acre to work with. First think about what that acre looks like. Is one side nearer a place where the deer might be coming from, such as a wooded area? Or is the acre pretty much 'even' in terms of deer approaches? Is it 'open field'? Or are there other plantings around the acre? This will matter in terms of how the plants/treatments are laid out. [Random placement.... or altering that to try to compensate for the complications.]

You will want to keep at least one plant of each type 'untreated', for your control. (If that acre is more complicated than open field, two is better.) Then you will want to use the same treatment on the same individual plant, throughout the experiment. IE, hosta 1 is control. No treatment. Hosta 2 gets treatment X. Hosta 3 gets treatment Y. Etc. Be sure to label them somehow. You have no way of knowing how long a treatment of a particular plant will last. You don't want to mix treatments on the same plant.

You will want to pick plants that are all in the same stage of growth. All grownup plants. [If you have some that are tender young things and others that are well-set adult plants, you just add more complications, more variables.)
Mature tomatoes, mature hostas, good. Other vegetables or perennials you can get mature and cheap? If you have well-established clover you can chunk out and plant where you want it, great. They don't have to be the same *size*, but they need to not be a mix of seedlings, young plants, established plants. Sorry if this is confusing....

Here's the link below. Great site, specifically for this kind of thing. After you've thought about all the stuff above, be sure to see the tab that says "Ask An Expert".

If I can help, email me. leoandlinda @

Here is a link that might be useful: Science Buddies

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 8:52PM
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Also, the deer do different things that don't follow our plans. I've had deer nibbling in my gardens for over 15 years. Each year they have a different habit.

This year they chose to nibble the golden raspberries every few weeks & tops of strawberries, but didn't touch the red everbearing raspberries 2' from the golden with a new support system. I think they were afraid of the wires.

They skipped right over the daylilies to get to the strawberries.

They've never touched my tomato plants nor tall sedums 'Autumn Joy' in various locations, but they eat them at my in-laws place an hour away.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 9:54PM
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