We live close to a 1000 acre waterfront park which is a haven for deer and turkey. North of the park is all waterfront, Lake Ontario, so the deer only have 3 other directions to roam. With all of the vegetation there is in the park you would think they would stay in the park and feed. Deer roam naturally while feeding and neighborhoods surrounding the park become an extension of their feeding ground. Vegetable gardens become a breakfast buffet of sorts and there are few shrubs they won’t eat. I had a friend that lived closer to the park and the deer would decimate the Yew shrubs up close to the house. He had to keep his shrubs netted all of the time. There’s a multitude of deer repellents on the market but most are laden with urine of predators and smell just awful and then it must be applied routinely. The difficult thing for me was keeping the repellent applied routinely. Following are some suggestions for keeping deer out of your yard and garden:
Deer Netting & Fencing
I gave up temporarily on the vegetable garden. I didn’t want to fence it or apply repellents so rather than encourage the deer, I eliminated the food source.
As I mentioned previously, I haven’t had luck keeping repellants applied routinely so I don’t use them. I use deer netting for anything in my yard that I want to protect from the deer. Deer love hosta plants. Pictured below are hosta plants in our front yard that need to be netted or they’ll be gone within a week’s time. The netting is a very fine material and not visible from the street. I generally try not to plant things that attract deer.
Deer Resistant Plants
The number one way to prevent deer in your yard is to avoid planting things that they like. Deer ate just about everything in the vegetable garden so I eliminated it rather than fence it or use repellent. We’ve had pretty good luck with mature holly, boxwood, burning bush, snowball bush, golden arborvitae, hydrangea, lilac, variegated weigela and mugo pine. I’ve seen evidence of the deer nipping the new growth on some of these shrubs but nothing severe enough as to destroy the shrub. I’m almost certain that if we were located closer to the park, all of these shrubs would be fair game. Iris, mum, daisy, sun-drop primrose, marigolds, begonia, pachysandra and ostrich fern have grown successfully in our yard and seem to be generally deer resistance. Click here for deer resistant plant lists available on-line.