Deer Control - Success?
After years of increasing frustration with the growing deer problem in Fairfax County (yes, it's definitely gotten even worse in the last 5 years!) I am cautiously optimistic that I am turning the tide and showing some success against the beasts. So I thought I would share.
My property backs up to wooded parkland that is full of deer. The problem of them eating my plants was always bad, but around 2008-2010, it got so bad that they were even eating "deerproof" plants that they had never touched before, such as irises, ferns, Japanese maples, rhododendrons, brunerra, etc. They were even eating petunias right out of the hanging planters on my deck! Nothing was safe anymore, and I was getting really angry and frustrated.
I read on GW about a year ago where somebody had success with a spraying regimen, so I thought I would give it a try. The results so far have been miraculous. The deer are so habit-prone that once they decide something doesn't taste good, they actually steer clear of it. I am using a product called Liquid Fence, which is an expensive organic mixture that smells horrible, but only when it's being applied. Once it dries on the plants, only the deer can smell it, and it actually works to keep them away, at least for a while. But the key is to stay vigilant, because even one good night of browsing can do unbelievable damage.
I am told that other products would probably work too, and the secret is really to stick to a consistent schedule of re-application. So, every couple of weeks I hold my nose and walk around the garden, spraying a half-gallon or so of the stuff on the plants (particularly their favorites). When things aren't growing as fast as they are in the spring, I back off to around once a month.
Yeah, it's a pain, but as much time as I spend in my garden it's worth spending 30 minutes every couple of weeks to spray. I've been doing this a year now and I am seeing actual hostas in full leaf and blooms on azaleas that I have not seen in at least five years. It's amazing how lush and full the garden looks in May now without the extra "pruning" from the critters.
I won't claim total victory yet, but I can say that this regimen helps my problem A LOT and makes me a much happier gardener.
Just thought I'd share...