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I give up - the deer win

Posted by Cindy_5ny SE NY (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 14, 04 at 16:00

I took a walk around the property today - not a spring clean up, but finally dry enough to take a look around and see how things are doing. I was saddened to see that a new area I planted last year with some new shrubs and trees was attacked by deer, and pretty recently. I'm not totally surprised because we've been seeing a lot more deer than usual, but I have to wonder why we even try to plant anything new!

Sorry for the rant, but feel free to join in!
Cindy


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I give up - the deer win

Hi Cindy, as I said on another subject, I bought this stuff in Plant Depot called Electric Fence. It really keeps the deer away. 2 summers ago,they ate my hostas, impatiens and day lilies. I then bought this stuff, applied it and was safe all last summer, they didn't eat anything. It has to be applied every 3 weeks, I think. You should try it, good luck!


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Giniene ~

I'm just curious why it's called Electric Fence if it's a spray? And if you don't mind my asking... is it expensive?

Cindy ~ I found last summer to be my most depressing what with all the deer damage! I had all but given up hope that I'd get to see anything grow that wasn't planted on my 2nd story deck.

As far as hostas go... I dug up what would have been gorgeous huge clumps and brought them over to my parents' house in New Rochelle at the end of last summer - they don't have any deer or other varmits to worry about so I figured they might as well enjoy the plants since I cannot!


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Do you think they are worse this year? They seem to be eating things around here they never touched before. My parents noticed they'd been at the evergreen tree right outside their bedroom window! The bottom foot of branches are all dead.


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Yes, I think they are worse this year! I know they will eat anything if they are hungry enough, but the trees they munched on were Colorado Spruces - first time I've ever seen that.


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Lynne, I think they call it Electric Fence because it works like one. I had virtually NO deer damage last summer and I used this stuff religiously. I think it is about $17 for a spray bottle, I can't say how long the bottle lasts, it depends on how much spraying you have to do. The bottle is like your average size spray bottle of Fantastik or Windex. I believe that they also sell a refill bottle, I think I remember buying one last year.Good luck!


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Thanks Giniene!

We've used all the other sprays, urnines, hair, soap, even mothball hangers to no avail...
I'm seriously thinking about getting a motion detector sprinkler, but they are pretty expensive.
I'll have to look for your stuff here and try it - especially on my bulbs, if not my 21 tree arbovitae hedge.
I was thinking of tying fishline up and down the hedge and see if that would work - anyone try that?


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Yes, there was more deer damage this past winter -- mostly because their normal winter ground-browse was snow covered for the entire winter, without a melt-off until just a couple of weeks ago. Normally, the rhodies and spruces are deer proof just because their mature leaves/needles contain so little nutrition, but when the deer get hungry enough, they will eat anything just to fill their stomaches. We put plastic winter fencing around the berry bushes and rhodies in late Autumn (before the ground freezes) and remove it only when the ground thaws. By then, the deer are busy searching out the tender new shoots of the hosta and lilies.

We put a 4' chain link fence around the veggie garden -- Our raised beds were banquet tables until we fenced them off! There's plenty of lawn to browse in the summer, so the deer have never attenpted to jump the fence.

That "Electric Fence" sounds like an answer -- at least for the lilies and hostas -- the deer in my neighborhood dine on them every year, with hyacinths and tulips for dessert, but in 20 years, they have never touched the daffodils, primroses, irises, lupine, hollyhocks, yarrow, phlox, poppies, malva, butterfly bushes or rudbeckia - even those planted at the edges of my acre. We are 30 miles west of Kingston tucked away in a woodsy hollow where the deer abound (pun intended!)


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RE: I give up - the deer win

It was really a pleasure this year to see the deer trails on the OUTSIDE of the 7 and a half foot fence. They must have been circling the place trying to find a break. Plenty of little piles out in the woods which is on the other side of the fence. They have grazed maple saplings, seedling junipers and white pines - about the only thing untouched is multiflora rose.


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Deer Chasers!! I have also used Liquid Fence and it does very well, except when it rains heavily. Then you have to be out there again. I have a large area to treat and like it because I can use a pressure jar. If you get the buds just before they open you are home free. Good Luck!!


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Yes, it's been a very hard winter for them. I had been very suprised to learn from a friend, who lives in a development in town, that the deer easily jump her 4' fence. She dosen't have a garden, but they do nibble the tree branches and bark. She has had as many as four or five deer in her yard at once. I have to admit...though they are a problem, I felt sorry for them.

JoyW


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Where can I find "Electric Fence"? We don't have a Plant Depot in our area, Columbia County, that I know of. I haven't been out checking yet this year, (afraid to look!); but last year they pulled newly planted rose bushes right out of the ground! Does it also work on woodchucks? We have some very pushy ones living on our property. Thanks, Barb


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RE: I give up - the deer win

The only place I know of that sells Electric Fence is Plant Depot, it is in Fishkill/Wappingers Falls on Route 9. I have also used Liquid Fence as grma4jo has and it works just as well. I just prefer the Electric Fence because Plant Depot is very convenient for me, I go there all the time. If you can't find Liquid Fence, I know their website is www.liquidfence.com. Good Luck!


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Hi all....
I have been using moth balls to ward off deer for years. I get small drawstring pouches ( at Adams on Rt. 44 in Poughkeepsie , but you can also use the cut off toes from old panty hose!) and fill with regular ol' mothballs and hang in trees and shubs that the critters like. Always hang at deer-nose level.
I have noticed damage in sections of shrubs that are unprotected but no damage in protected sections...It works for me! Another choice for filling the sacks is Milorganite which is a fertilizer that is easily available.
I know these hanging sacks look kind of "strange" but they do work!
Last year my hubby bought a bunch of cheap Rhodys and Azalea and planted them here-and- there 'round my garden...I wanted to do the moth ball thing, but he said "They were cheap...let it be". Sure enough, the deer had a feast! But my protected Exbury Azealeas and others remained untouched!
I also spread the moth balls 'round lilies, hosta and a host of other plants just for the heck of it!
Good luck to you all....Joyce


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Luckily they didnt touch our rhodos or azaleas. But they did feast on our arborivae. They chewed up so much of them that some of the shrubs are completely void of foliage- so sad... I have since wrapped them in a deer net as a last ditch effort to save whatever is left and that's keeping them off for now. I see their tracks circling the area in the snow every morning.


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Hey Joyce,

I'm glad the mothballs worked for you...
my deer must be more determined!
I even bought mothball cakes in little cages at the $ store and hung them on my arbivitae but they kept eating around them to the trunk!
I do use milorganite, but never thought to put it in bags at munching level - great idea - thanks!

Trant - yesterday morning the deer tracks came right up to our front steps -
they finished what little was left of the foundation bushes.
Thank goodness they didn't find my emerging bulbs through the snow... YET...


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Thank you for the info on Liquid Fence. I'll look for it until we get a chance to drive down south in search of Plant Depot.

Moth balls didn't work for me either - for deer or woodchucks. I poured moth balls directly down a woodchuck hole; and the chubby (well fed) little guy just kicked them all back out. He chose to dig his hole right in the middle of my sweet pea patch - very tasty indeed! Needless to say, not one of them survived to bloom.


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Liquid Fence and Electric Fence are both supposed to work for ALL animals, so I would assume that woodchucks are included. I can say that anything I have sprayed either one of them on have not been touched. Good luck!


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RE: I give up - the deer win

I've been able to successfully grow tulips (every deer's favorite snack!)as long as I intersperse them with Crown Imperial Frittilaria. The strong smell of the frittilaria (they smell very garlic-y) seems to deter both the deer and the squirrels. I swear - far from the house, completely unfenced - and for two years running I've had a nice little clump of Queen of the Night tulips that are allowed to bloom and stay unmolested. And I definitely have deer in the yard. So, that might be one rather pleasant way of keeping some of your plants safe.


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RE: I give up - the deer win

I think the trick to moth balls working to deter deer is to hang them out BEFORE the deer establish their trails through the garden...


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Oh, well... Joyce... they were here long before we moved in 10 1/2 years ago!!!

I just called one of our local nurseries and while they've never heard of Electric Fence, they do stock Liquid Fence - but boy is it pricey!!! A 1 gallon spray bottle is $29.99 and the guy said it only works the same as everything else I've tried that they have there.
I guess it's time to go put out some milorganite...


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Hi All;
If you go to the HGTV site, go to gardening. On the left side of the page listing..choose wildlife. At the bottom of the page is a short list of four web sites including liquid fence, for products for detering deer.

Hope this helps!

JoyW


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RE: I give up - the deer win

I have our arborvitaes wrapped in burlap - anything that was exposed is gone! Does anyone know when I should unwrap them? (and buy Liquid Fence?)


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RE: I give up - the deer win

I tried the fishing line around our property. Wrapped a really heavy line around trees, at 3 levels. The deer broke through them all. If you are willing to go out and retie every week, it works, but I'm not into such high maintenance.

The Irish Spring, cut in half and hung at nose level does work, but it's ugly and I hate the smell.

Hinder spray worked, but you have to reapply it everytime it rains. I have a lot of area, so that was out.

What works for me now is a $$fenced$$ in garden where I plant all the things the deer like....roses, lilies, food, etc. Now my only battle in there is the tunneling varmints.

What works around the beds outside my fenced in garden is a foot-catching ground maze of old green tomato cages, the kind that open up and close to make a triagular prism shape. The deer don't like to get their feet caught. I try to look past it. It works better than anything else.

This Electric Fence is something I'd like to try. My concern is, what's it made of? I don't want to pollute my food or ground water with petrochemicals.

I love that we have our own forum here! I'm in West Hurley, home of rock ledge gardening. And the hunting clubs are trying to get MOOSE reintroduced here!! Do we need more huge animals in our yards?


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Susanzone5, I live about 22 miles west of you on 28 -- in Shandaken -- past Phoenicia and still climbing -- we're Zone 4 as far as frost dates -- and we still have piles of snow in the shady places.

Deer LOVE arborvitae and itaxia (sp?, and most other soft needle evergreens - tender eatin' in winter. Far less appetizing and eaten only in the most desperate winters (when they can't get to dried grasses & low weeds) are the rhody and its cousins, azelea and laurel. I remember the first time the deer did a job on my rhododendron, which were planted in 1985. Winter of '96 gave us 40-48 inches of snow base, which was frozen hard enough for the deer to walk ON. They strolled over to the couple of feet of rhody branches sticking out of the ground, and ate every leaf and tip, while standing less than three feet from my bedroom window! It's taken until now for the shrubs to recover! We had snow cover this whole winter, but at least never more than 12-15 inches at a time (and of course, we put green web fencing around the rhody beds in November and don't take it away until the ground thaws - then we just move it to surround the elderberry bushes and raspberries!


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Deer consumed the hydrangeas as soon as I planted them -- 2 years and still no blooms. They razed the hostas and nearly killed my new Rose of Sharon that was a gift from my sister.

Why can't they be useful and eat the poison ivy!!??

I gave the Liquid Fence a try and so far, so good. It says you don't need to spray often but we spray every week, religiously. Spray again after it rains (though if you spray enough there is residual aroma). They stay away from what we spray. It's pricey, and if you get upwind of it, it stinks! But so far, it's been working.

I am terrified of them and their ticks and won't even go on the grass without clogs and socks. They are all over as we are wooded and on a river. There's no way to fence without ruining our views, though we're considering it.


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Well, looks like I'll be making a trip to Plant depot for the electric fence and I'll be putting up real fences too! Everything is getting eaten - I noticed this morning that even my garlic was chomped on! There are more deer here than I've ever seen before - this was the front of our property this morning.
Cindy


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Cindy, the front of your property looks like my back yard! Also, I was at Plant Depot this morning, they no longer carry the Electric Fence unfortunately. They swear that Liquid Fence is just as effective, though. I know I used both last year and they seemed pretty much alike.


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RE: I give up - the deer win

I have a pair of deer that regularly cross my yard on their way to the water on my property after they have eaten the corn my neighbor strews in his yard to attract them - of course they do browse on tender young shoots of anything handy on their way to and from! But I've never seen them eat alliums (plants in the onion family, including frittelaria, drumsticks, garlic, onions, etc) However, groundhogs LOVE alliums, as do voles, so maybe you have some of mother nature's other critters also visiting on a regular basis?

After the deer indiscriminately and severely pruned the leaves and tender young branches of our new fruit trees (dwarf pear, plum, and peach and semi-dwarf apple), my husband bought a bunch of six-foot metal fence stakes at Lowe's. Using a sledge hammer, we "planted" three stakes (they have a point at one end) into the ground around the perimeter of each tree, and hung (secured with wire ties) rigid wire fencing (comes in 12-, 25- and 50-foot rolls) about a foot off the ground , effectively protecting the tree from further destructive munching. The foot off the ground allowed us to maintain the lawn within the fencing, and and the resulting five foot barrier was taller than the young trees, and too tall for the deer to reach over to nibble on the tops. We left the individual tree fencing around the trees for several years, but removed it when the trees matured enough to start bearing fruit. Now I have to figure a way to keep the bear and raccoons from stealing the fruit and breaking the branches!

Oh, the woes of living in semi-paradise! Hey, we moved here to be closer to nature -- and now we complain? Shame on us!


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RE: I give up - the deer win

I don't know anything about deer but I haven't heard anyone suggest Shake-Away or Deer Out. I just saw them advertised on the right side of my computer screen while reading these posts. I went into their sites and both of them are guaranteed. Has anyone used them? They supposedly have other repellents for small critters, rodents, etc. One site is www.critter-repellent.com and another is www.deerout.com


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RE: I give up - the deer win

I just heard NY State is considering year round deer hunting. I wonder what that would do. I guess they are concerned with the damage not just to the regular homeowner, but also a lot of farmland is being affected.


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RE: I give up - the deer win

my deer problem started last year after living here for 15 yrs.
the new development across the way chased them over. this year
they ate the roses, all the rhododendrum buds azaleas kalmias,
hinoki cypress, yew, every bulb but narcissis and the tops of
any perennial that shoots up. don't want to but will probably
do a fence, the droppings are another added delight, and the
ticks too. the most deer i ever saw was on fire island off LI
they roamed the towns in large herds blocking pedestrians try
ing to walk on the streets.


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RE: I give up - the deer win

I don't think the year round dear hunting will help us, there are houses all around the wooded area, I'm sure no hunting is allowed so close to all the homes. I'd love to relocate them. HOW do you do THAT? There can't be enough food here to keep them healthy. Even if they nibble in my yard, and all the neighbors, there just isn't enough for real food for them. I wish developers would have to think of that before they build and sell. The deer are pushed out, but they have no place to go, but our yards.


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RE: I give up - the deer win

There's a house nearby that has herds of deer and turkeys in the yard 24 hours a day, it seems! I guess they must feed them. People who are familiar with the place know to drive carefully, but some people zoom down the road and risk hitting a deer crossing to get a meal. I wonder if anyone's ever complained about it. Glad I don't live next door to that!


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RE: I give up - the deer win

No, the deer weren't here when I came (71 years ago now). We rarely saw a deer in those days - even finding deer tracks was unusual. But in those days dogs were allowed to roam loose and there were often packs of feral dogs that made their living killing deer. Now the dogs have to be leashed or fenced, the farmland has gone back to woods and the deer have moved in and multiplied. There are now more deer in NY than there were when the first settlers arrived. There are still a few poachers around killing deer for the pot - not enough poachers, too many deer. My own solution would be to get a bunch of sharp-shooters in and turn all that venison into hot-dogs or meat-balls for the soup-kitchens. But it isn't about to happen yet - not enough people have been killed by deer/car accidents. We are reaping the results of many years of deer preservation for the benefit of hunters and where are the hunters when we need them?


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Where are the large game hunters? Home playing computer games where they can kill, kill, kill, die and be reborn, all in the comfort of their overheated houses! Fewer and fewer young men are taking up the "manly" sport of hunting. Ask any hunting club! Hunters are disappearing from the landscape!

And here's another point to consider: Take City and State-owned, overgrown, "forever green" forests, so dense they no longer provide browse for the deer or berries for bear, add the "improved grazing" along the sides of every state road and federal highway (deer death traps looking for times to happen), sprinkle generously with accessible dumpsters to provide continued instant gratification for the bears which are shipped here from Westchester County and parts south -- Bear that have already learned that people food fills stomachs much more quickly than picking berries and climbing trees to snatch bird eggs and apples -- They are shipped here, where momma bear teaches baby what is fit to eat and where to find it. She doesn't teach her babies to forage for berries and fish and ants and mice and other small game. Instead, she teaches them how to pry open garbage cans, sift through dumpsters, and access bird feeders. It isn't a kindness to move the bears 100 miles north to a less-densly populated area -- it's a sentence -- for them and for the country populace as well. If the bears can't be moved to unpopulated areas, they should be humanely destroyed -- they have bad habits that won't change unless they are placed where their supply sources are limited to foods found in the wild.

The balance used to be kept in check by coyotes, wolves, foxes, bobcats and the occasional mountain lion. All the large game predators are gone -- the victims of trappers and bounty hunters. The only predator the deer have to fear now is the human automobile. And the bear have no natural predator at all. In this area, they are truly the king of beasts!

And to add icing to the cake, have you read about the attempt to introduce elk to the Catskill Forest Preserve? Elk. Huge deer. It takes an 8-foot fence to adequately screen a 4-foot deer. How high a fence is required to screen an elk? Don't we have enough problems? When the elk become a problem (not having any natural predator to stem their growth) will some study group suggest the reintroduction of mountain lions to keep the elk in check? When will man learn to STOP FOOLING WITH MOTHER NATURE!

Okay, okay, I'm stepping off my soapbox right now. I promise. There goes Marie, whispering "Well, for today, anyway"


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RE: I give up - the deer win-(where are the hunters?)

This is in answer to the question "where are the hunters when you need them?".
The hunters are here, and they are not all "playing video games" as mentioned in one message. Many people with deer problem who live in areas where hunting is allowed do not allow people to hunt on their property. I know people who constantly complain about the number of deer and the damage to their plants who are against hunting! Somebody in upper Westchester with ten acres of land was always complaining about the deer eating all his expensive plants. I took it as an opportunity and offered to hunt on his property during bow season. It is perfectly legal to bow hunt there, and in Westchester county you can hunt unlimited number during the season. On opening day when I showed up with my bow his wife almost called the police!
How many of you who posted here about the deer problem are willing to let me hunt on their property, provided it is legal to hunt there?
How many of you think hunting is inhumane and barbaric?


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Matjok,

Most people would think of me as a wildlife-lover, tree-hugger type, and would probably assume I'd be against hunting. But exactly the opposite is the case. Yes, I complain about deer, not just because of my garden but also because they are decimating the native plants and we, the ones who created the problem, ought to do something about it.

My next-door neighbor is a responsible bow hunter and he is welcome to hunt our land. In fact he takes as many deer as he's allowed, and still we have large herds of them grazing in every field in the town. I advocate a larger-scale hunting operation and the use of the meat as food, the hide for leather. It consistently surprises me how many people cry over shooting deer and yet have no problem going to the supermarket and buying their steak. Either way, we are killing animals. In my mind it's better to hunt over-populated wild animals than to raise animals under horrible conditions only to slaughter them a few months later.

So, no, I don't think of hunting as inhumane, as long as it's practiced responsibly and the meat is used. I agree that a big part of the problem is that so many people don't want the deer to be hunted, and protest against it at community meetings.

Anyway all this just to let you know that some of we complainers would gladly let you hunt our property.


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RE: I give up - the deer win

I agree.


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RE: I give up - the deer win

  • Posted by queso z5 NH, USA (My Page) on
    Wed, May 5, 04 at 22:42

Deer trouble our gardens and used to trouble our dwarf orchard. We did manage to find a 75% solution that some may be able to push to 100% while others might offer suggestions so we may yield 100% as well. We use 20 lb. test fishing line as a fence. It's clear and almost invisible. It's supported by 1" x 1" x 8' poles which were ripped from 5/4 pressure treated decking lumber. The poles weren't treated so the natural aging helps hide them. We spaced poles 15' apart and tightly strung the fishing line about 1' apart vertically from 1' to 6 ' in height.

Deer find the fence the hard way and cause breaks in the line but repairs are as cheap and simple as adding a new piece of line. Eventually the deer get scared enough to walk along the fence to the neighbors feeding garden instead of ours.

The fishing line fence around the orchard is working flawlessly. Unfortunately, with multiple gardens around the landscape, the best solution for protection of the remaining property was a perimeter fence. The fishing line and poles are invisible from a distance but not close up. In addition, the poles would be a nuisance to mow around. Needless to say, in the front yard, along the street, we didn't use the fence and instead tried a more viewer friendly coyote urine barrier (concealed vials spaced 20 apart) to seal the open part of our fishing line fence. This doesn't work. The deer have found the opening and chomp our tulips, hostas and Ornamental Peach trees every spring. We hope our solution might help those who can completely seal their garden(s) and if anyone has suggestions on how to effectively close the gap in our solution please hurry, our oriental lilies need protection.

Suggestions: 1. Increase the size of the fence post and top with bird houses to add to your gardens enjoyment while concealing the posts.
2. Increase the strength of the line and train vines to creep along them.

Here is a link that might be useful: CheesenSweets Homepage


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RE: I give up - the deer win

I always say I want to put up a sign that says "Hunters Welcome." I'd even feed them breakfast. My neighbor has permission to sit in our field with his gun. We always have a herd of deer passing through.

I have friends to whom I can't mention guns or hunting. They aren't gardeners.


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RE: I give up - the deer win

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
I found today, that the lovely deer have already eaten the tops off of 1/2 my oriental lilies!!! I did not get a single flower last year, and now they already begun!!!

No guns here... none allowed in village limits!
Not even allowed to use slingshots at the woodchucks who eat everything the deer don't!!!

Any OTHER suggestions?!?


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RE: I give up - the deer win

Spray!


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RE: I give up - the deer win

We have electric fencing for our goats - It's light-weight, easy to put up and take down - it is not pretty, but it works.

We also have NO deer. Our next door neighbor gets them.

But they don't garden anyway.

Dee


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