There are a number of different methods of deterring deer from feeding on your flower gardens, vegetable garden or trees. Which method works best is highly subjective and depends on many factors. Hungry deer often will ignore all barriers and repellents. Because of this, no plant is deer-proof; a deer may avoid an oregano bush in one person's yard at one time of year, but then the same deer may devour it in a neighbor's yard at a different time of year.
The best deer repellent of all is a physical barrier. As naturally lazy creatures, deer usually take the path of least resistance, and take it over and over again. Placing a fence across this path can change their migrating patterns, moving them away from or around your area. The only fence that is fool-proof is a woven wire or mesh fence that is at least 8 feet tall. Bounding deer will be capable of clearing it, but unlikely to try. If this is too costly for you to install, try angling out a shorter fence at about 45 degrees or use electric wire. You can lure deer into an electric wire by placing some peanut butter on a bit of aluminum foil and hanging it on the hot wire. This teaches the deer that the fence bites.
The next idea for your deer repelling arsenal may be a multitude of commercial and homemade sprays. These are effective, but messy, expensive, time-consuming and stinky. Many use the power of rotting eggs, which is not nice blowing into your window on a hot summer day. But they may be worth it to you if you are ending up with nothing to eat after your local deer hooligans have passed through. A spray repellent's effectiveness depends on how hungry the deer are, on the weather and on how often you reapply the spray.
Downsides of Sprays
One downside of a spray repellent is the terrible smell; another is cost, unless you make your own. Another drawback is that if they come into contact with vegetables or fruits, they can ruin the taste of them for you. If this happens, you might as well have let the deer have them. Use sprays with these factors in mind, and try mixing up your own ripe eggs and water slurry before plunking down big bucks on commercial sprays.
One method of deer repellent that has been shown to work at least as well as many other odor-based methods is the use of bath soap, particularly Dial brand. It is unclear what the deer dislike about it, but it is an inexpensive way to start your deer repelling ventures. Simply drill a hole through the center of the bar of soap and hang it with fishing line in trees and around your gardens.
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