When I asked you what you wanted to read about in The Garden Shed, I had a few people interested in deer-proof gardens. Come back next week to read about mice, skunks, and raccoons.
Unfortunately, a hungry deer will eat, or at least browse, almost any plant. Here is a list of plants that deer will GENERALLY avoid. I emphasize generally because deer vary from coast to coast and what deer in Ontario might not enjoy may be loved by deer in Saskatchewan.
- Bleeding Heart
- Evening Primrose
- Hens and Chicks
- Lambs’ ears
- Most ferns
- Purple Coneflower
- Shasta Daisy
- Strongly scented herbs – rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint, etc.
I always recommend Bobbex: it is kid, pet, and environmentally friendly and is my number one choice for repelling deer on my country property. I like it because I can plant whatever I want and not have to worry about it being attacked by deer over night.
There are a few other remedies that I have heard about and will list them here although I have never tested them so don’t know how effective they are.
- Mesh bags of human hair hung from trees
- Bars of soap hung from trees
- Fabric softener sheets
Winter browsing damage is one of the worst things for a newly planted tree or shrub. Using a tree guard can help keep the bark intact and prevent further winter damage. They only protect the trunk, however, so small trees may have their low-growing branches nibbled.
These are similar to the plastic guards and offer the same type of trunk protection. Instead of being made from plastic, they are biodegradable and will break down in 2-3 years.
The most obvious and really the only 100% effective solution is to put up a fence. On a country property, however, this is often less than ideal as one who is living in the country is probably not the type to close in their yard, keeping in mind that deer have no troubles hopping a 6 foot fence. It is effective though and if the deer in your area are unbelievable persistent, it may be your only option other than living with them.