ravenous deer

Deb_NJ(z7 NJ)June 26, 2010

They ate all the daylily buds last night. I'm talking hundreds of buds. They even ate rudbeckia buds.

So the daylilies are effectively done for the year. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to prevent this from happening again? I don't want to have to buy expensive products or spray anything that is going to leave an obvious coating. Is there anything actually good you can spray that will at once act as a deterrent and be beneficial to the plants at the same time?

Oh, and they also ate their way through a whole patch of campanula, which I've been cultivating as a sort of groundcover to the left of a curving walk. They also ate some toad-lily buds.

I still have a lot of other plants left, so my garden is not totally wiped out.

But I'm still devastated.


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Illicium floridanum and Clerodendron bungei are 2 things nothing will eat.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 11:28PM
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I use Liquid Fence, which if sprayed to much on a plant can cause the leaves to look spotty. So now, I mostly spray around the perimeter of the yard and randomly into the beds. I also use Milorganite as a fertilizer. The combo of those two seems to work. Not a lily bud was touched this year. They've been leaving the hostas alone, too.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 11:35AM
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newbie_in_nj(6b E/Central NJ)

The deer population is growing too fast in NJ and open land with natural food sources is disappearing.

They ate 3 new Peonies, Penstemon, Agastache Rupestris. Lobelia siphilitica, ALL kinds of Echinacea and more I don't want to remember.

The only way I can grow Lilies of any kind is to keep them up on my father's deck in huge pots. The roll of chicken wire I've got blocking steps is definitely unattractive but it also keeps the "moving, stinking, miserable mat", aka groundhogs, from going up onto the deck and eating everything in sight.

Neighbor around the corner has solar powered 3 strand electrified fence around front half of his front yard where dozens and dozens of lilies are planted. Until he did that 2 years ago the lilies were decimated.

Done all the sprays vigilantly but if they're ravaging supposedly "deer resistant" plants that have been sprayed it just becomes a waste of time and money.

I'll never understand why Monmouth County won't dispense contraceptive bait for the deer. County parks are allowed to have controlled culling in addition to their 16' high electrified fences. What about the rest of us that want some bushes and blooms?

There is a constant stream of 3 generations of deer that stare at me across the driveway day and night. It's a losing battle unless deep population growth is prevented with the very reasonable and humane contraceptive bait.

Needless to say I could go on and on but that's enough venting for one thread...LOL.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 1:18PM
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I am an employee of the Monmouth County Park System and I am not aware of any 16' high electrified fences. There is deer fencing around Deep Cut Gardens, the horticultural park of the system, but this does not exceed 10' and is certainly not electrified.

The deer population is NJ growing too fast; there are very few predators left and, except for the roads, they have an ideal habitat. As a matter of fact, credible sources report that there are more deer in NJ now than there were when white settlers arrived. The thing is, deer do not really dwell deep in the forest, but in the forest edges - coming out to feed in meadows ... and our suburban yards and gardens are, to deer and other herbivores, just very lush meadows!

As to why the County will not dispense contraceptive bait for the deer, I have no answer for you. That, of course, does not come under the purview of the Park System. I believe I heard something once, years ago, but cannot recall with any accuracy, but it may be a State Wildlife, Fish & Game issue. Something else for me to check into :-)

Deer are creatures of habit, so the longer they are feeding in an area and on a given food, the more difficult it will be to deter them. When they encounter a new area or food, they will often try it, but may not come back to it. (Little consolation if you've lost the entire current year's bloom, however.) Young deer will also taste things as they learn.

Daylilies and hydrangeas seem to be among their favorite foods. I know one fellow Master Gardener who finally just gave up trying to grow daylilies.

That being said, people report varying degrees of success (and failure) with repellent sprays, motion-activated sprinklers, Safeguard soap and/or the cheapest, smelliest soap you can find in a dollar store, human hair, and clear fishing line strung around the garden at shin and chest height for the deer (it confuses them because they can feel it but cannot see it). High deer fencing undoubtedly works. Two parallel shorter fences approximately 3' apart will also deter them, as they cannot jump both in one leap, but will not jump into the middle area. Both of these last options, of course, are costly. There is also a device that is a tall stake with an attractant lure beneath electrified wires (battery operated). When the deer go to lick the lure, they get a jolt and this is supposed to, in time, send them looking for friendlier pastures.

There is no question the deer are a problem here. Although I've not had direct experience with them myself, we've been blessed with a ravenous groundhog that - again - took out my vegetable garden this spring: 13 varieties of heirloom tomato seedlings, 2 varieties of heirloom eggplant, 3 pepper varieties, cukes, beans, peas, beets, spinach, broccoli, marigolds, nasturtium (all grown from seed). So I do empathize and wish I had a better answer for my fellow gardeners.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 2:34PM
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