Castor bean plants for deer control

PtBetsieJune 22, 2002

There is a doe and a fawn that have been creating havoc in my garden this year. Planning for next year, would planting castor bean plants around the edge be of any help. I doubt it would repel them but it might help eradicate. Not sure if these plants are poisonous to deer too.

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weebus(Z8 Sunset 5 WA)

If it doesn't repel them, how would it irradicate them? Are you asking if you plant castor bean plants, would they poison the deer thus eliminate your problem?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2002 at 1:11PM
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I doubt even deer are stupid enough to eat enough of something poisonous to them to kill them...

    Bookmark   August 1, 2002 at 3:06PM
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Ichiro_sasaki(Z9a B.C.)

Sorry, what you're talking about is killing deer.
All parts of Castor bean plant are "LETHAL"or EXTREAMlY DANGEROUS!!!
They all contain one of the worlds most deadly alkaloids know only as Ricin. By the way Ricin was used by the KGB in the 50's and even up to the early 70's to kill agents and also used as a tool for assaination. all Ricin came from this plant. Seeds if broken and then ingested are almost always lethal without immediate treatment.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2002 at 9:33PM
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wvgal(z6 WV)

I live in WV ptBetsie and I can relate to what you are saying... Personally, this family would shoot 'em and have a skillet full of tenderloin for supper!
They are pretty to watch and the best "eats" but a pain in the A$$ for gardeners!
Guess it's just different strokes....
Go forth and plant, save your garden!!!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2002 at 9:13PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

I don't know how large your garden is, but you could try what worked for me.

Get some welded wire fencing, in the 2x4" size, at least 2 ft wide (3 ft might be better), then lay it down FLAT on the ground around the perimeter of your garden. Let the grass grow through it, & mow over it. Deer seem to have a fear of getting their feet trapped in it, and won't cross it.

I did this in a rural area where a herd of 5 deer came through every evening. They looked longingly at my corn, peas, lettuce, etc, but they never got close enough to take a bite.

I don't have a deer problem now, but another idea I had after I moved was pumpkin vines. It is said that planting pumpkin vines in a solid mass around your corn will keep the raccoons out of the corn, as they hate the vines. I wonder if pumpkin vines would also deter deer?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2002 at 9:42PM
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adrianag(AL z7)

I heard that chicken wire laid flat on the ground will work as well...

    Bookmark   November 10, 2002 at 11:07AM
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Nelz(z5b/6 NW PA)

What about various hot pepper plants around the garden. A friend of mine swears by this. You will end up with A LOT of hot peppers as they are pretty prolific little buggers.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2002 at 12:09AM
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Ichiro Sasaki wrote:
"They all contain one of the worlds most deadly alkaloids know only as Ricin"

This is incorrect.

Castor bean plants do contain ricin, but it is a poisonous protein, one of a group called plant lectins. It is NOT an alkaloid.

It is a well known toxic protein, educate yourself about it here:

    Bookmark   January 8, 2003 at 3:05PM
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You had me confused for a minute as I'd always thought that the poison in castor beans was "ricin." I checked the Cornell site that you posted and the poison in castor bean plants is indeed, ricin.

Did you even read it?

Here is a link that might be useful: Ricinus communis

    Bookmark   January 24, 2003 at 9:58PM
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Penny, didn't you read Krisa's post? It says that the poison is indeed ricin, which is one of a group of compounds called plant lectins. Krisa merely pointed out that ricin is a protein, not an alkaloid as Ichiro said.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2003 at 2:02PM
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Oh...never mind....

    Bookmark   January 30, 2003 at 4:29PM
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Castor beans contain castor oil (laxative) and a potent alkloid called ricin. Ricin is as deadly as cyanide.

While Castor Beans are a most beautiful plant and is a semi-tropical (I have seen in grown year round as a perinnial in the Azores and assumes immense height and proportions) but u best beware its limitations, expecially if you have a garden which children might frequent.

There are other and safer deer alternatives out there. If in season (and u must, I'd suggest a 30-30WCF, 150 or 170 gr jacketed soft point (properly aimed) at no more than 125 yards. This would be more humane than poison.

I don't mean to be stark and alarming but these plants are sheer poison and must be planted in protected spaces. I grew them (under strict adult supervision) at age 8 and my grandparents KNEW it's properties. I knew and obeyed!!!

Hope this helps!!!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2003 at 4:35PM
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Dandelion_TN(z7 Memphis)

I admit I'm not a chemist so I can't back up my concerns with any facts...but I also worry about what would happen to other animals/humans that might come across and eat a poisoned deer.

I've always are what you eat...heaven forbid somebody found a dying deer on their property and decided they'd like to fry it up so it wouldn't go to waste.

I ordered some castor bean seeds last fall, not long after...I heard about ricin and all. I knew they were poisonous...but I really had no idea to this extent. I have decided not to use them as I have a 5 year old. I keep a very careful watch on her and I have taught her about safety in the garden...but this is a chance I'm just not willing to take.

A plant that gives you a tummy ache is one thing...this is another category all together.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2003 at 10:01PM
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chancygardener(6-NW AR)

If you're a meat eater, pee around the edge of your property to repel deer.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2003 at 11:34PM
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Finally... A way to stop my deer problem!
Posted by psyched123 Tx (My Page) on Mon, May 26, 03 at 7:58

My garden and yard have been under attack by deer for years. I've tried almost everything: deer repelants make of urine, hanging fragrant soap around,etc... Nothing really worked very well. I happened to see a show on H&G TV where a gardener laid down chicken wire on his lawn because he had discovered that deer won't walk on it. He had covered his lawn with the wire, but it was invisible because the lawn had grown through it. I immediately bought a couple of rolls and edged my garden and yard.

Every morning, I see deer around my garden area, but haven't had an attack in over a year. I wanted to share this priceless info with those who have suffered as I have. Good luck!

Posted by: allnatural z7 DE (My Page) on Sat, Apr 26, 03 at 12:13This is going to sound odd, but it works

Irish Spring. The soap. Seriously.

Put bars of Irish Spring into sections of panyhose and hang them around the perimeter of your garden. From what I can gather, deer don't like anything that smells "clean as a whistle".

I picked up this bit of advice in Organic Gardening magazine some years ago (Gardener2Gardener section- not sure which issue) and passed it along to a friend of mine who had *major* deer problems. She said it worked like a charm.

Posted by: aluft 5b pa (My Page) on Tue, Apr 29, 03 at 23:40Just to add to the Irish Spring solution...IT WORKS!!!

Only difference is I use a cheese grater and just grate it right on top of my perennials.

Being in a county park, right now I have tulips blooming, daylillies along the woods are untouched and my hostas are unnibbled.

I do the pantyhose thing for my arbs, which I forgot this year and guess what, they ate them. But they didnt bother my saucer maggy.

I've been doin this for the past three years with excellent success. And the nice thing about grating is you get flakes that aren't easily seen and it takes quite a few rains befor I have to do it again.

Posted by: WaterMyGarden Z6 PA (My Page) on Wed, Apr 30, 03 at 10:39I get the bulk pack of Zest from sam's club. Its been 100% effective for me in keeping deer from rubbing young trees.

Irish Spring with a different name.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2003 at 12:57PM
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Castor beans work. I tried the chicken wire around my Santa rosa plum trees and it worked the first season. this year they got through or over the wire and ate my new fruit. Disgusted, I tried the castor beans. Opened and placed in dried corn feed and two weeks later, buzzards were feasting on the results and my trees were green again and living.It evidently take about two weeks for the beans to work. The deer keep eating the corn mixed with cstor beans so you have to keep the feed availabl until there are no more deer.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 12:49PM
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What type of a$$hole kills deer so they can have nice flowers or plum trees?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 1:46PM
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Pallida(Zone 7b)

Sitting here on Memorial Day, thumbing through the Forums and came across this one , as I have a bit of a deer problem this year, too. I AGREE with JC's comment! Why in the world would you want to cause the death of hungry, innocent animals in such a horrible, painful way just to save a few plants?! Good Grief! Go to the grocery store. It can't be THAT important to grow your own fruit! I've read all the hints on how to repel deer, and the chicken wire placed on the ground as an obstacle course seems to be the cheapest, most effective, most humane way to go. Of course, you WOULD have to keep the grass mowed off of it to keep it exposed, or it would just become padded and easy for the deer to walk over. Perhaps AH was too lazy to mow over the prostrate chicken wire! You know? In the long list of remedies to this problem: sprays, soap, radio left on nearby, electric wires with aluminum plates attached, peeing all around garden area (yuk!), I haven't seen ONE suggestion to use our ancestors' remedy..........a scarecrow, and just think, place a bale of hay, a few gourds and pumpkins around it's post at Halloween, and you have instant decoration! HA. Please don't kill Bambi! After all, we invaded THEIR territory, not the reverse!


    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 4:00PM
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I hope to station each of the posters to this that are weeping for the loss of little furry animals at 3 feet intervals around my garden. Since they all eat meat (and you just know they do) their tears should keep the deer off my flowers.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 10:04AM
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I have an invasion of deer and no fencing and I've conceded to planting deer resistant varieties such as artemesia, rosemary, yarrow, phlox as the mainstay of my garden. Having a dog helps.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 10:16AM
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Thanks for the idea PtBetsie! That worked out great this year. The only problem I had was the smell when one would drop too close to the house. At least it was usually a smaller fawn, so they weren't hard to move.

My tomatoes look great. Thanks again and keep 'em coming!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 7:59AM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

Posted by apoppyfield ... Having a dog helps.

My family were subsistence farmers in a remote area. Protection the garden was absolutely necessary. They relied upon a dog to keep many critters from the garden. There were tricks to it, according to them. Only my grandmother was allowed to approach the dog. The dog was never, never allowed to be a pet of any sort to anyone. It was there to protect it's territory.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 2:14PM
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You can take all of your so called deer repellents, etc and what ever else you want to call them and toss them in the river.
The only item that will keep deer at bay (out of your garden area) is a fence, how hi ? depends on conditions.
I live in the middle of a 30,000 resident town, deer have destroyed my gardens, wifes flowers, vriginia creepers, even Japanese yewes in the winter. Deer are in our yard every night looking in our window, 15 at one count.
To everyone who adores these darling creatures, your attitude changes when you spend hours, days, years, trying to establish a pleasant atmosphere outside your home.
I have 5 raised beds, with a frontal wire fence 3 foot hi, they wont jump into the garden...why ? if they do they will be impaled by angle iron I have set up to keep my raised beds secure. Didn't plan it that way just happened.
Of those lovely deer, just had a deer friend lose her life over one that a car hit and the body of the deer went through her windshield. Take every one of these critters and get rid of them, it would do me a service....
Why not castor beans mixed in with corn ?????

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 10:14PM
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