Those durn deer!

meandmyshadowMarch 27, 2006

Hello Gardening Gurus!

Two summers ago, my neighborhood deer discovered a delicacy (to them!) in my hostas! Stripped, right down to the ground!

Last summer, my SIL (who is a hairdresser in Bangor) gave me a huge bag of haircuttings to scatter around. Nope. That didn't work.

Anyone have any home remedy (non toxic) ways to keep the deer out of my garden this year?


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maineman(z5a ME)

They sell special deer fencing. Some of it is black plastic and doesn't look too obtrusive.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 2:40AM
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Thanks MM-that is certainly a good option. As a matter of fact, would probably keep the neighbors dogs out of the garden, too!

Thanks again!


    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 8:02AM
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Best is a fence a minimum of eight feet tall. But that is not practical for most people. I have had excellent results with a spray called Liquid Fence. Learned about it on another forum here at GW. You have to spray every couple of months but so far, so good.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 9:31AM
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kennebunker(5, s. ME)

The deer repellants I use are all peppery. The ingredient is capsaicin, or something like that, which is extracted from hot pepper plants. When I'm in desperate need of deer repellent and I'm out, I have a spray I whip up which is a mixture of any hot stuff I have, red pepper, hot sauce...and water which I simmer on the stove, then strain. It still tends to clog my sprayer up, but it's better than nothing. I tend to buy jumbo containers of hot pepper in summer whenever I see them! When I need pepper safety in a hurry, I'll even run out and sprinkle my plants with the stuff. The deer tend not too like it. Squirrels on the other hand seem to regard it as a nice spicy flavor. The inconvenience is that you have to respray whenever it rains. By the way, the stuff also seems to repell Japanese beetles.
You can also try spraying a mixture of water and ammonia on the hostas. I've done that to repel slugs, and it also feeds the hostas. I can't say for sure if it repells deer, as I tend to lose track of which thing I sprayed on what when (I have some in the back yard that aren't troubled by slugs and some in the front that are.)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 7:10AM
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I agree that fencing of some sort is the best solution. I have seen even fishing line (with fluttery tape markers to remind you where you've strung it), strung at approximate chest height of deer, work.

It's always difficult to predict what these creatures will decide to eat next (note qualifier: "next"), and therefore almost impossible, in my mind, to spray or to apply this or that to individual plants or shrubs. Having said this, I have had success in keeping deer from "browsing the cedars" by hanging small bars of soap from the cedar's branches. Use a drill to place a hole in center of the bar of soap, thread with twine, and hang at nose height of deer. I could add, with a hint of dry sarcasm, from my own follies with trying to keep nature at bay from, well, er, what nature needs to do--eat--that soap does not deter chipmunks or red squirrels.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 8:24AM
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There is nothing more effective than a dog. Esp. one with some "attitude". We noticed a marked increase in deer on the property (ticks, too!) when our original "mongrel horde" began ageing and then dying.

I realize a dog doesn't suit everyone, but they work! Rex routinely patrols the property (about 3 acres, unfenced), and I maintain that a few "piles", and urine marking around the fringes of a property make a BIG impact on the deer herd. Also, we lost an old cat to a fox attack in '04 and had heard foxes for a few years before... we haven't heard one, let alone seen one since Rex arrived! No woodchucks, either.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 11:17AM
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I went to a nursery last fall and was told about Fermented Salmon all-purpose Liquid Organic Fertilizer manufactured by Coast of Maine, Inc. and that this product was very effective in repelling deer, rabbits... the oil residue stay on the leaves and even after repeated rains it still work to repell the critter... I bought a quart and will find out the result this year..
good luck..

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 1:01PM
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You have my sympathies! In spite of the fact that we have two dogs who patrol the perimeter of our property on a daily basis (and 2 more dogs who vist regularly) the deer srtipped a lovely 2 year old cedar hedge that was growing along our fenceline. Now I love deer (and could forgive them if we had had a rough winter with lots of deep snow), but a fence is definitely going up this year. All the lazy buggers had to do was walk a hundered yards to find good browse in the woods!!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 5:50PM
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Sounds like a case for bow hunters!

I love venison and anyone who "bags one" here has to give me cut, lol!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 9:14PM
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Wow! More responses! Many thanks! :-)

Like Mainerose, I, too have 2 dogs that regularly patrol the area. Two lovely Labrador Retrievers who have no qualms whatsoever in "alerting" us to any possible "intruders." Although, I have no doubt that they would welcome any human intruder into our house with wagging tails. :-) But, I digress.

Thanks for all the additional information. As the hostas are peeping out of the ground now, I need to get on this! Immediatly!

Happy Gardening!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 9:09AM
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covehillsoaper(z6 ME)

I have deer, and am in an area that does not allow fences.
At least I now know not to bother planting hosta!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 9:08AM
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kennebunker(5, s. ME)

They don't seem to bother my hosta. They like most everything else, though.
That reminds me, I better check my supply closet for that deer spray.....

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 5:06PM
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raeb(3a Canada)

We've had the same deer munchers in our garden this spring for the first time, and we live in a small city in southern BC, Canada. My neighbour works with a gal whose dad is in his 80's and his solution, living in a very rural area, is this:

1 egg whisked lightly with 1 1/2 cups of water. Strain the mixture (to get out the stringy things) and spray over the area/plants you want to protect from the ungulates. He swears by this method. It is my intention to apply some of this egg wash to my cedars/tulips (what remains of them) in the next day or two. Apparently there is something in the animal protein of the egg that the deer don't much take to. Let me know if this has worked for anyone else. Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 10:38PM
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