Spring-flowering bulbs & Deer with the munchies

sarahmakes6(z8 OR)August 12, 2005

I am living in deer territory for the first time and have surrendered several plants to them already. They are so beautiful to watch wandering the neighborhood, but the steam starts to roll when I discover they've been munching in my yard. Living with deer certainly requires a paradigm shift, as I'm just not accustomed to considering them when selecting plants.

I'm starting to think about spring-flowering bulbs and just read on another thread that deer love tulips, but not daffodils. In your experience, is that true? What about hyacinth, grape hyacinth, & crocus? Other bulbs?

I would like to draw from others' experience before I plant yet another deer salad. Thank you!

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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

The Dutch Gardens catalog seems to have symbols for bulbs not bothered by deer. Perhaps their website would have this also. The catalog I found was for spring-planted bulbs, but lists iris and daffodils as deer-proof. Daffodils are poisonous to rodents, squirrels, etc. and are great for interplanting with edible bulbs to protect them from burrowing animals. I haven't had deer damage to my Muscari, either. Deer really go for my roses but haven't bothered my daylilies, though I have heard reports that they will.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2005 at 6:57PM
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Ratherbgardening(PNW 7 or 8)

I have hyacinths and daffodils that have never been bothered. I haven't tried any others since neighbors told me they couldn't grow others without something eating them.
Deer do make gardening challenging at times. I got a product called 'Deer Out' that worked very well on my roses and some shrubs that they liked a lot.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2005 at 9:58PM
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Bellingham(z8 WA)

I have lots of daffodils, and they've never been touched.

But I do have some young fruit trees, which were almost completely destroyed last year. I started using a product called Liquid Fence, in combination with a deer fence (a lightweight, almost invisible mesh) not around the whole landscape, but just across the place where I determined they were entering my yard. I read that, if you can simply alter their path (and there is plenty to eat elsewhere), they'll quit bothering you. I haven't seen deer damage since on roses, fruit trees, lillies and other tasty treats. I'll leave the physical fence up, but cut back on the Liquid Fence and see what happens this winter when the pickins are slimmer.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2005 at 11:01PM
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kiwirose(z8PNW Canada)

Daffodils have been fine in my deer territory, although "someone" ate my grape hyacinths. I also planted lots of alliums with no damage apparent. Another spring success, although not a bulb, is peonies.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 10:21AM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Deer will eat the blossoms of Tulips and Pelargoniums. They stripped my neighbor's plantings that were over 300 ft. long down a fence row. They also ate all his grape leaves but left the grapes alone. A black bear cleaned out his pear tree. Deer like my Polemonium blossoms (Jacob's Ladder) and Black Magic Taro leaves. An Elk ruined a Korean Fir I have that was over 15 ft tall. So far, I tolerate the wildlife and adjust accordingly.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 12:46AM
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javan(9b n. coastalCA)

I have found the "scarecrow" infrared water sprinkler device to be quite effective in protecting areas I don't want the deer bothering. It is bascially a sprinkler head with an attached sensor that shoots out a noisy, startling, spray of water when it senses an intruder in the protected area. It really does seem to keep the deer away. (I went with this device after losing a large alstroemeria, and my climbing pea crop to the deer...both have since recovered somewhat.) Jim

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 10:44AM
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Deer are plentiful in the valley below our house. They come up the path and through our yard on the way to the farmer's field south of our acreage. Daylily buds and flowers are definitely a treat. Autumn Joy sedum heads and roses are also. Lilies are a given.

In the spring tulips are a wonderful treat for them. I have found that they do not eat my alliums (all varieties) or my daffodils or peonies.

The cheap and easy solution I have used for the last 10 years is to make a mixture of 1 egg to 4 litres of water. I mix that well and spray it on the whole flower bed. It has a protein smell that the deer do not like and therefore they leave everything alone then. The only drawback is that it needs to be resprayed after each rain.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 10:40AM
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sarahmakes6(z8 OR)

This is good information. Thank you everyone. Can I go slightly OT here and just say that I had no idea deer ate clematis? I just went out this morning to check mine and they are stripped and chomped with deer tracks all around them. Argh! My first buds were all set to open! Hrmph.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 1:55PM
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Bellingham(z8 WA)

Just a quick follow up, FYI, in case you were considering the plastic mesh fence I mentioned earlier...

Today a deer walked right in to my yard, giving me only an odd look as I waved my rake and tried to shoo her away. As she slowly headed for the mesh fence, I backed way off, so as not to make her feel cornered. She looked calmly at the fence, took a bite of a nearby bush and promptly jumped right THROUGH the fence. Didn't even slow her down.

There's a money back guarantee, but I'd have to mail the fence to Tennesee, and the poles cost more than the fence.

Oh well...back to the stinky stuff.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 11:50PM
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sarahmakes6(z8 OR)

LOL... darn deer! I'm going to try the egg spray.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 5:18PM
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