What do you do to keep the deer from nibbling your plants?

jean_mdc(z 4/5 NY)September 24, 2006

A gal in our garden club has had a horrible time with her deer eating all her daylilies and a bunch of other perennials.

She has worked for years to try to find something that she could spray and would actually work.

This year she had the best luck ever and everything she sprayed was untouched by the deer but one hedgerow that she forgot to spray was totally eaten.

She passed out the recipe she is using .....raved about how cheap it was to make ......and for her... it works!

Organic Deer Repellant

1 egg

1 cup milk

1 T. liquid detergent

1 to 2 T. cooking oil

2 T. oil of rosemary or concentrated mint juice

Beat egg, add other ingredients and strain into a 1 gal container. Add water to fill the container.

Spray once a week on the plants the deer like to eat.

Store unused repellent in the refrigerator.

I am going to try it this year but I am also thinking.....I always loose all my amamenies, some of my crocus, allium and smaller tulipbulbs over the winter.

What if I dipped my bulbs in it before I planted them?

Do you think the solution will destroy my bulbs?

Your thoughts?

What do you do to keep the deer away?


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
penny1947(z6 WNY)

I don't have a problem with deer at all since I started planting salvias and agastaches which are in the mint family. Deer will only go for plants in the mint family if they are really desperate for food.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 9:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jean_mdc(z 4/5 NY)

Hi to both of you!

I have never heard of the mint......I will certainly give it a try.....Thanks.....Jean

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 2:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I live on the edge of a wooded area. The deer leave my yard alone because I have dogs. I have lots of daylillies and they never touch them. It helps too to have corn fields nearby. They prefer the corn fields to my plants....better for hiding and less chance of a run in with the dogs.
Back when we had sheep and chickens in the barnyard it was not unusual to get up early and find deer grazing with the sheep. Now that the sheep are gone the deer still graze in the field but they do so with one eye on the house because they know the dogs do on occassion run loose out there.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 8:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mulchinmama(z6 NY)

I just heard a neighbor swear by this one:

She applies PineSol around the plants she wants deer to avoid.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 9:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was also going to say LARGE DOGS! But I also live in a rural area and I think the deer have plenty of things to eat so only venture into my gardens to snack on a hosta occasionally.

Am I the only one that thinks it's probably squirrels that are eating your bulbs? I don't think it's deer ... where as squirrels are known to dig bulbs.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 1:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
penny1947(z6 WNY)

Squirrels dug up all my daffodil bulbs that I transplanted two years ago. I watched them do it. I don't think deer will dig up bulbs either.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 8:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We used to plant beets. When they had nice young leaves,the deer came and ate the leaves. The next night they came and pawed up the beets to eat. The only cure we found was to stop planting beets.

I think the best way to foil deer is to plant things they don't find delicious.


    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 3:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jean_mdc(z 4/5 NY)


I just love that beet story.....it reminds me of the spring I watched the red squirrels ate my crocus.


I put my daffodil bulbs way down deep....at least 8 inches and they do well...but I think it is the moles or voles that get my bulbs that are closer to the surface. I have not seen the squirrels near them but holes are popping up all over so I suspect those little ground diggers.

But thanks a bunch for your thoughts!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 8:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
penny1947(z6 WNY)

Voles won't eat daffodils but they will devour tulips and crocus, hyacinths and lots of other bulbs or tuberous plants. You can plant ornamental onions, garlic or other alliums around your favorite bulbs to keep them away. also dip the bulbs in hot sauce before planting. That is how I kept the voles from eating all my bulbs. If the holes you are seeing are about the size of a quarter or silver dollar then that is what you have. I saw one scurrying through the bushes from my neighbor's yard the other day into one of my salvia beds so i will be purchasing another Tomcat live trap and even though it is too crowded to plant any garlic sets in there right now I may just throw a few in there to sit on the surface of the soil. Those work like a charm. Caught 6 last year.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 7:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jean_mdc(z 4/5 NY)


We caught 6 last year also.....how funny but I see we are loaded with them again.

I have a ton of crocus coming in the mail and I am going to dip them in the hot stuff just like you said but I also like your garlic idea.

This year I thought I would put my amemones and checkerd fritillare in pots and sink them in where I will pull out my cannas, brugs, and bananas. I have lost them for so many years that I think this is my last shot.

Thanks for your great ideas and for sharing the things that have worked for you.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 10:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
penny1947(z6 WNY)

another gardener friend in PA. told me that the voles chewed through the pots in the ground to get her bulbs so then she started making little cages out of hardware cloth available at hardware stores. She put the dipped bulbs in the hardware cloth cages and then planted the cage and the voles couldn't get to them. The garlic really works well. I plant it all around my house up close to the foundation where it is a little warmer in the beds. In the summer when the plants are growing up around them it isn't seen and I just leave them for a couple of years and then replace if necessary. I will have to replace some this year as I dug them up accidentally while pulling some stuff out earler.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 12:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jean_mdc(z 4/5 NY)

Can you believe that they actually chewed through the pots in the ground to get to the bulbs? Talk about determination! Well, I am also as determined this year to save my bulbs so I might have to dip, put my pots all together in a big clump and then surround them with hardware cloth! Wow!

By the way ....we lucked out and did not get frost last night so I am good until next weekend! Thank goodness!
Thanks again for the advise!


    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 2:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
penny1947(z6 WNY)

Jean we may have a warm up and a dry day or two during the week so if you are able to plant mid week that may be your best bet. I will also tell you that I planted a lot of my tulips in a larga galvanized wash tub with holes punches in the bottom. The tulips have been safe and sound in that tub for three years and have grown and multiplied like crazy. I still hav several in ground around back too but the metal washtub is a definite foolproof planting site.


    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 7:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Throw dried blood around and the deer will stay away. You can get it at the garden center in the organic fertilizer section.

Plant your bulbs with crushed shells (called chicken grit at feed stores) and the voles and other tunneling varmints won't eat the bulbs.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 5:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jean_mdc(z 4/5 NY)

Hi Susan

Thanks for both of your ideas! I have never heard of the dried blood and the crushed shells before.....I am going to try both.

I am still planting and digging! I got my banana trees into the basement this afternoon since I am sure we will get our 1st frost this week.....then I will pull out all my dalhias and put some more bulbs in those holes.

Thanks again for your thoughts!


    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 8:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
penny1947(z6 WNY)

I would use the chicken grit if I had a feed store anywhere close by where I could get it. I know some of the garden centers sell Permatil which is crushed conditioner to lighten heavy clay soil but it is very expensive. chicken grit is very cheap and serves the same purpose.

Does anyone have a source for buying chicken grit in Northern Erie Cnty or in the North Tonawanwada, Wheatfield area of Niagara County.


    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 7:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Penny, our garden centers carry the crushed shells in the animal repellent department under a weird name...for repelling moles/voles, etc. Read the labels for ingredients. It's cheaper at the feed stores of course. Try Agway or similar store. Our local pet store carries it too.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 5:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
penny1947(z6 WNY)

None of the local garden centers here carry it but I did get a lead on it at a small out of the way garden center/feed store so I am going to check with them. They may even possibly order it for me. The closest Agway is about an hr. away.

Thanks Susan.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 4:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
docjsf(6 Indiana)

plant hosta in your neighbors yard.

sorry cound not resist

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 3:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
penny1947(z6 WNY)

Penstemons are another plant that the deer will leave alone. My largest bed on the side of the house which is wide open and easily accessible from an open field and wooded lot which has been a point of travel for the deer that are in the area is all planted out with salvias agastaches and penstemons. I have never had any animal damage done in that bed. The first year I made and planted that bed, I had cosmos, daisies and the like, and whole plants roots and all disappeared overnight.

Besides the fact the the salvias et al are not prone to being eaten by deer or other critters they provide nectar for my hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. So they do provide a two fold purpose.


    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 5:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When I was married and we were ready to plant shrubs we went to different landscape places. We told them we had deer.They instructed us to buy certain plants they said deer would not eat.Of the plants we put in the only ones they didn't eat had thorns or sharp needles.We planted several trees that look like cedar. They were next to the driveway.Well winter hit. what we found out was that the deer wouldn't eat these trees UNLESS they were hungry.The ones that we could save we replanted. They grew tall and full.Then One winter morning we went out and found these evergreens shaped like mushrooms.The deer had eaten the first four feet.I'm a hunter but know that killing even the deer in your yard will not stop them.If you plant it they will come.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 4:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This article has 2 of the best fences for keeping deer out of gardens.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 5:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
penny1947(z6 WNY)

I have deer mostly through the winter but none of my plants are ever bothered. I grow mostly deer resistant plants in the exposed part of my yard such as salvias , agastachess and Penstemons

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 7:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I spray Deer Off every 3 weeks or so (if I remember). It does the trick for us! The large dog doesn't work for us - he is getting old and may amble after a deer but won't follow it into the woods. We have a 100 acre wood behind us and have seen as many as 15 deer hanging out in the woods behind our house. Really dislike them. Anyway, if I spray, my tulips don't get chomped, young trees survive and Hostas bloom. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 7:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know someone that swears by having her husband spread "human scent" around their garden. Of course, rain washes it off, so the poor guy has to spend a fair amount of time drinking water and spreading his scent around! My dh tried that - the deer walked right over the scented area into our garden. But it might be worth a try...

We use tall fences around our fruit trees - like wire cages. They're tall enough that the deer can't jump over them, and the enclosure is too small for them to land in if they *could* jump that high. We also use motion scensors (sp?) - they use a 9 volt battery and hook up to your garden hose. Anything (deer/dog/human) that walks in front of the eye gets blasted! Available from Amazon or your local hardware for about $60. Those work well, but you might have to move them occasionally.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

don't know how much it would help a flower bed, but we'd run fishing line in circles around our veggie garden, criss-crossing high and low, making a very permeable fence. very easy for us to step under or over, but the deer would walk into the lines in low light, become apparently confused over the "invisible" fence, and high tail it back the way they came. (i lived in northern maine, and we had so many deer we'd catch them in the act sometimes.) worked like a charm!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 7:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I put a bar of Dial soap in a sock or ankle length stocking and hang several of them from different objects in the gardening area. I like the colored striped socks rather than plain white or black socks to give the gardening area some color...LOL... Been doing that for several years and it seems to be successful. They seem to stay in the woods behind my place and avoid coming out near my gardening area.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 3:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I make hot pepper and dial soap solution, and spray it on apple trees. Its' been successful. I haven't tried it on flowers and vegetables, though.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 11:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am on my first bottle of "Deer-B-Gone" and so far, so good. The key ingredients in that are cinnamon and clove. I actually LIKE the smell myself.

YEP... we learned too late which plants are "deer candy"...

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 9:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Milorganite It is a pelletized fertilizer found at garden stores or feed stores. Our house/ veggie garden is heavily wooded. My garden has fencing around it to keep bunnies and deer out. I use the fence for growing beans, cukes, pumpkins --anything viney. I put about a 1/4 cup of Milorganite in a nylon knee high ( can make several out of one knee high) tie the top and tie it to the fence. If I forget- the deer sheer the beans on the outside of the fence. I will also sprinkle it in my non fenced gardens.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 12:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've had great luck with Deer Off for both deer & rabbits. I've had a couple of years I didn't spray early enough in the season & lost my stargazers & a few other one time bloomers. I spray every couple of weeks & buy the jumbo concentrated size online. It smells awful (rotten eggs).

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 11:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've been alternating Plantskydd and asafetida powder (spice from the Indian grocery, very strong smelling). Both seem to work but only until the next rain. The deer first pruned the tulip leaves, then after blooms emerged started on those. This last raid, they started on the garden phlox (oddly enough, they don't touch the wild woodland phlox that I have an area full of!)

There is one tulip variety that they haven't touched (so far) even thought it has been in bloom for well over a week. I think it is 'Pink Impression'. Really spectacular tall large blooms; funny how those deer have eaten all around this planting without touching it!

Using the repellent has at least allowed me to enjoy each wave of tulips for several days before it rains and they are eaten.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 11:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

With a sprinkler system coming on every day the only thing that works is a fence. I used an old gazebo, extra tall on the low spots & it does the trick...

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 5:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I live in the woods and deer used to think the open garden in front was a salad bar. I put in some euphorbias, strappy plants like ornamental grasses and reeds, and archangel lamium that has very strongly fragranced foliage the deer hate. They leave all my plants alone now but have scared the crap out of me peering in the bay window from time to time. Nothing like looking up to see huge eyes looking back. I think they are planning a revolt. Now I just have raccoons in the recycling bin going after empty gelato containers.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 12:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"They leave all my plants alone now but have scared the crap out of me peering in the bay window from time to time. Nothing like looking up to see huge eyes looking back. I think they are planning a revolt. Now I just have raccoons in the recycling bin going after empty gelato containers."

Lol! Funny about them staring in your window! We have deer coming right up to us when we are in our back yard. Probably because people nearby are feeding them. I don't appreciate them making wild animals tame. I used to store birdseed in a large rubber container out back until the raccoons ate a hole in it. Had to gear back my bird feeding because the raccoons and squirrels were on the feeders more than the birds.

As for the deer, I give up. If I want any kind of veggies, I'm going to have DH build me a fenced in enclosure. Probably put hardware cloth on the floors as well so they can't chew through THAT! Might try some spray to keep what I have left from turning into stumps.

Good luck keeping the critters off the veggies.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 8:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a giant peace lily plant that I move outside in the summer. This year we moved to a house with deer everywhere that appear to eat everything I plant.

Does anyone know if they will eat my peace lily plant?
I would be devastated!!!!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 5:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I use a solution similar to what you posted. I like it bc the longer it sits, the stinkier it gets. I put some baking soda and hot sauce along with eggs, milk w no soap, although I've used soap in the past. If you were reluctant to use soap, you might not have to use it. The oil will still help it stay and take longer to wash away.
You also might want to spray the dirt hole you place them in instead of dipping them if it's inconvenient to dip. You'd end up with about the same result. A stinky place under the dirt were your bulbs are.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 9:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like Deer Stopper. It is made of organic ingredients and does not smell badly, like the ones made of eggs or other offensive-smelling materials. It dries clear and lasts up to 30 days, even if it rains.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 10:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The deer seem to like some of the plants from the Lily family. I'm growing several different Lily varieties, including the 8 foot bushy Breck's LilyTrees and found out that the Dial soap in the colorful socks seem to keep them away from my flower and veggies. The deer seem to pass up my area when passing through the evergreens and other trees behind my house. But, they visit my neighbors yards and wander through them and cross the streets via same, but, not mine... When I lived on a couple acres in a heavly treed area area beforehand and had a veggie garden 120 feet long by about 30 feet wide and had a 4 foot fence around same, they would jump the fence and visit my 20 foot long raised beds that were full of veggie crops. There, had raccons that gave me some competition and would even beat me to my corn when it was ready for picking and the like along with some other crops too... Now, in a senior citizens development and container gardening. This year, have 10 containers alongside the house/building that contain Lily flowers and a few veggies in the 30 to 50 gallon Rubber Maid type containers, both circular and oblong. Drilled holes in the bottom of the containers for drainage, and bars of Dial soap in the socks near all of them, and hanging off of the tomato cages etc. I like to use the Square Foot Garden method in the containers. THE PHOTO: Had just planted veggies last month in these 4 containers and have netting across same to keep the birds away from the newly planted herbs and veggie plants. Note the bar of soap hanging off of the waggon wheel. Added more of same to this area to keep the deer away... Have the Pink Flamingos "on Duty" in NJ...

This post was edited by Oceanpeg on Sun, Jun 8, 14 at 7:26

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 6:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We just let the deer graze on what they want. It increases flowers and fruit later and they typically won't graze flowers, tender plants, and such after the grass and other plants starts growing anyway.

That's what they do, graze a long path and avoid grazing the same area twice in a season to keep the plants they like productive.

However, deer to bed down typically in the same area. They typically are pretty much done eating by then though for the day.

Lock them up in a small pen like a goat and they will eat paper and graze the ground to dust.

1 Like    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 9:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I haven't had a problem with any animals at all since I started using this. It's a little expensive to get up and running, but it's nice to sleep well at night knowing my plants are safe.

Here is a link that might be useful: No Deer Now

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 8:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Oedhel Setren

If its a huge problem, you may get best results by simply giving them part of the garden. Plant some shrubs that are native in your area that they will enjoy.As stated above, if they have enough grazing options, they wont kill any plants.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2015 at 5:35AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Brown Recluse Spiders~WARNING!!!
Yes. They DO live in NY State. Have for quite some...
Help with Viburnum... Wentworth Cranberrybush
Hello... I'm new to this site so please bear with me....
Need INVASIVE plant advice. Help!
I have an area at the back of my yard that has troubled...
Are there apples forming on your trees?
Hello, Last year I had hundreds of apples on my Granny...
Time for seed catalog fun
Well, catalogs and online lists. Also time to go down...
Sponsored Products
Begonia Hanging Basket
Art Virtuoso Hortus Moderne Framed Art Print-P0042C-05820
Beyond Stores
Handmade Bonsai Tree Photo Pillow
| Dot & Bo
Mount Vernon Arbor
Workbenches & Workbench Accessories: Edsal Work Benches 60 in. W x 24 in. D
Home Depot
Gladiolas in Tall Glass Vase - 9405
$180.00 | Hayneedle
Rain Wizard 40-gallon Rain Barrel
Jaipur Coastal Living Hand-Tufted Monstera Transitional Coastal Pattern Wool Tuf
$99.00 | Hayneedle
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™