Many gardeners suffer from pests. Some treat their plants for beetles, others release ladybugs to eat aphids. However, some would argue that the worst pest of all walks on four legs, not six: deer. Deer walk easily over fences that keep smaller rodents like rabbits and skunks away and can reach fruit high on three branches where it is safe from other mammals. Since it is illegal to trap or kill deer during most parts of the year, and most people would rather do neither most of the time, gardeners must find ways to make deer avoid their gardens. Fortunately, many deer repellents exist, and most of them are even available at home.
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Some of the most effective repellents involve smell, especially when it comes to deer with sensitive noses. Many people have hot sauce and garlic cloves right in their kitchen. A frustrated gardener should mix equal parts hot sauce and garlic cloves or crushed garlic in a blender or food processor until they form a thick paste. Water thins the mixture slightly to make it spread further and a strainer ensures no little bits of garlic get mixed up in the solution. Using a spray bottle, the gardener should spray around the perimeter of the garden plots and plants, and even a little on the trunks of all the trees, avoiding the fruit. The smell will disgust the deer and make them stay away.
Soap and Air Fresheners
Deer hate chemical smells like those in soaps and car air fresheners. Gardeners should save old car air fresheners and unusable soap slivers leftover from larger bars. He can slip them into tiny bags made of tulle mesh or canvas, making sure to put the soap and the fresheners in different bags. Then hang the bags in trees and stake them around garden plots. The gardener should use only fresheners or soap, not both. After a few weeks, the deer will get used to one smell and start eating again. The gardener should then switch out the fresheners for the soap or vice versa. The new scent will frighten the deer into avoiding the garden once again.
Urine and Food Plots
Deer shy away from predator scents like coyote, wolf or fox urine. All of these things are available at hunting stores. All the gardener must do is sprinkle a little around the base of each tree or garden plot. The deer will be able to smell the urine long after human noses can no longer detect it and stay away. Gardeners should reapply the urine about once a month, switching the type each time so the deer perceive a new threat every time. Food plots used in conjunction with urine may help keep deer away indefinitely. Planting clover and alfalfa close to the tree line or at the opposite end of the property from the garden offers the deer a place to eat without the perceived threat of predators.