View Full Version : Help! THe deer are eating EVERYTHING!

Dec. 25, 2008, 08:18 AM
Hay! We have a barn with some shrubs around it. We fence the shrubs off in the winter to protect them from the deer and have never had a problem with these shrubs getting eaten.

This year, because of the early snowfall, the deer have been merciless to our fencing and shrubs. Broke through the fence several times, ate the shrubs to nubs and are relentless. I have refenced, curled up chicken wire around the shrubs...It ain't pretty! It looks like a demilitarized zone and all to no avail. They still jump in, trample everything and eat all.

We recently bought Liquid Fence and are trying that. What else do you all do?

Ugh, to little pretty round shrubs that now look like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree!

Melissa.Van Doren
Dec. 25, 2008, 10:08 AM
We use a product called "Liquid Fence" which WORKS. We didn't put up any fencing this year and so far not one plant bed, tree or shrub has been touched. Find it at your local nursery or big box store.

Dec. 25, 2008, 10:15 AM
Not much in the Christmas spirit, but here goes: If wildlife is causing problems around this farm they are put into the "varmint" category and shot.

Chances are you are dealing with a very few deer. It's likely that the same ones are raiding your shrubs over and over. A good spot-light and beginner's level skill with a rifle will solve your problem in short order and provide some meat as well.

You'd think that a good farm dog would help with this, but our dogs get used to deer in a hurry. The dogs will lie there and sleep while deer pick the leaves off of the azalias 10 feet away!

Dec. 25, 2008, 10:58 AM
Plant something the deer don't like to eat.


Ruby G. Weber
Dec. 25, 2008, 11:14 AM
I agree with GAP. After trying everything including an "outside" dog I've gone to plants the deer don't seem to eat. They don't seem to bother my holly, box (probably too cold in Goshen for box), Arborvitae, Nandina and Manhattan Eoyunamus (sp?).

They leave many of my deciduous shrubs alone also. Barberry, Careopteris, Spireas.

Don't even think about planting Hosta!
Good luck!

Dec. 25, 2008, 01:56 PM
Irish Spring soap. They hate that stuff. Shave it over the plants or just buy a multi-pack and hang or drop 1/4 bars on each plant. The also hate citronella oil. Mature plants are expensive. It might be worth stringing some electric tape up for a few weeks. My deer learned quickly to avoid it.

I dumped my old sun-bleached yucky hay in the woods and the deer ate that instead of my plants.

The plants mostly all died from drought, blight and pestilence, so I am glad I never killed the deer because now they are the prettiest thing out there and a pleasure to watch.

Dec. 25, 2008, 03:05 PM
Either wait for spring and tear those out and plant less tasty ones instead...or try mixing liquid soap and water (heavy on the liquid soap) in a sprayer and spray that all over the shrubs. Deer aren't fans of eating soapy things...which I can't blame them.

A house about 1/4 down the street from me has huge rhododendrons on either side of their front door. They're kind of wild looking since they're not shaped or trimmed and oversized now, but they do have an extremely impressive flower display yearly. Deer are always noshing on those bushes...one time I drove by and one of the homeowners was standing on her front porch in a housecoat and rollers snapping a dishcloth at the deer...I got the serious giggles out of seeing that. :lol: FWIW...don't try that because those deer didn't seem to care about the older woman 10 feet away snapping a towel at them saying, "Shoo!" :winkgrin:

Dec. 25, 2008, 03:50 PM
A friend of mine insists on planting a lovely orchard and garden behind his house, next to big corn fields. He has booby trapped the whole area with string and little explosives (caps maybe? or shotgun shells without the pellets? anyway something that goes BANG if you trip the strings).

Then he wants us to come over and pick zucchini or strawberries. I'm too afraid I'll trip over some booby trap! :D

But it seems to scare the deer off mostly.

Other neighbors have deer fenced their entire properties, which looks terrible but seems to be mostly effective.

Frank B
Dec. 26, 2008, 11:09 AM

Deer hunters know you don't take a whizz anywhere near your stand! Hey, it's cheap!

There are numerous types of deer repellents (http://www.deerbusters.com/deer-repellents.htm) available. A Yahoo! search should turn up many more, and additional information is available from the Quality Deer Management Association (http://www.qdma.com/press/living-white-tailed-deer.asp) website.

Dec. 26, 2008, 11:16 AM
A friend who has a veggie garden very near the forest line had deer problems too - until he started hanging his sweaty t-shirts over the fence line...The strong human scent kept them away. I have also heard that if you get hair (from a barber/beauty shop) and spread it around the plants - that is also a good scent deturant. Let us know what works for you...if you still have any plants left!

Dec. 26, 2008, 12:43 PM
. . . . .one time I drove by and one of the homeowners was standing on her front porch in a housecoat and rollers snapping a dishcloth at the deer...I got the serious giggles out of seeing that. :lol: FWIW...don't try that because those deer didn't seem to care about the older woman 10 feet away snapping a towel at them saying, "Shoo!" :winkgrin:

I've driven home to find a very nice 3 point blacktail (which would be 8 eastern count with brow tines) calmly nibbling away at the honeysuckle vine hanging on the arbor by my front door. Parked right next to him and he didn't move until we got out.
DH "watered" the garden perimeter faithfully and we used bird netting over outside beds and minimum 6' fencing. I think you may have to go as high as 8' for real protection, but I've read that if you create an oxer with a 36" spread, or something that creates that illusion they won't try lower fences. I've heard that big cat manure, available from zoos will work, and my other neighbor used something called "Not tonight deer". Blacktail will eat anything in the summer and fall - even if they don't like the taste they can do it a lot of damage.

Dec. 26, 2008, 01:59 PM
Oh my gosh, thank you!!!

Re: Plants that deer avoid, I'm afraid alot of these are hollies and they are eaten to the nub!!! :mad:

I'm going to try to get DH to pee on the plants however...We'll have to do that in the stealth of night as you can see all from the road...

Thanks for all the other suggestions....We're on it!!!

I will let you know what happens. At least, we can protect the bare branches from further eating.

Dec. 26, 2008, 05:39 PM
Poor buggers are starving.

I'm like Equinelaw. The deer are my yard ornamentation now. And the moose, and the elk (I can live without ever seeing 100 elk in my front yard ever again, however. If you think deer are destructive...) and the rest of the critters.

Nothing likes daffodils and iris very much (unless they dig up the bulbs) but trees and shrubs are a waste of time and money.

We bought this house and land from someone who thought they could establish a tree farm up here. I've pulled hundreds and hundreds of dead sticks wrapped in plastic net tubes out of the scrub oak over the past 10 years... None of them, literally not a single one, had survived.

Dec. 26, 2008, 07:04 PM
I heard something about the drought last year and the acorns off the trees. Something like a bumper crop of acorns in response to the drought -- self preservation if the tree dies or something like that. Well, this year there are a shortage of acorns -- something the deer eat a lot of. So, we've had them up and eating everything in our yard from the hostas to the ivy. Poor things. I put up a bale of alfalfa -- but hubby gets mad because I'm just aggrevating the problem. Heavy sigh!

Dec. 26, 2008, 07:11 PM
I take it you are not the same person who started the "Can't wait for hunting season to be over" thread?:)

Dec. 26, 2008, 09:15 PM
Where I live the soil is VERY acidic. The only plants that thrive in this soil without a ton of help are things like azaleas, rhododendrons, hostas and mountain laurel. Stuff not so great around horses but the deer love it all.
(try growing grass here...takes a few billion tons of lime to reduce the soil acid enough...or a few tousand tons of manure)

You what works sometimes? Try finding a few old CD's and hang them on strings or fishing line from your shrubs. Plain silver CDs, not old movie ones that have graphics on them. Any slight breeze will keep them moving anf reflecting/glinting even at night and the movement and shine scares off deer for a good long while. Although they might attract a crow or two...crows adore shiny things.

Dec. 27, 2008, 10:08 PM
Blue-Mist shrub.

Deer don't eat it, it's very pretty, and you can't kill it. The only thing I'm not sure of is if it grows well that far north.

It is a very pretty plant though. I think I read in one of my gardening books that the color blue isn't that attractive to deer. (double check me on that)

Dec. 28, 2008, 06:48 AM
Never heard of that shrub...wonder if it's related to me considering it's name? :winkgrin:
I'd like to think I'm pretty and can't be killed.

(stop laughing dammit...I said I'd like to think that!)

(It's more likely related because we can both used as repellents, LOL)

Dec. 29, 2008, 11:50 AM
Don't have your husband pee ON the plants! That may do more damage than the deer! Pee around and near the plants.
Human hair usually works, for a while, but they will get used to it, so you have to switch it out for something else sometimes.
Maybe a good chance to get rid of some old perfume that's been hanging around.
There's also a hot-pepper product you can spray on the plants.