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How can I Keep Deer out of my Garden?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Deer in the garden can be devastating, as they tend to eat plants indiscriminately while trampling others. Therefore, keeping deer out of the garden is a priority for many rural gardeners, who often invest a substantial amount of time and money in an assortment of schemes aimed at keeping deer out. A number of myths abound in the gardening community about what can be used to help with keeping deer away, and for beginning gardeners struggling with deer, this can be almost as frustrating as the deer themselves.

The one sure way to keep deer out of the garden is to build an extremely tall fence. At a minimum, a deer fence should be 10 feet (three meters) tall, although deer have been known to jump fences of this height. A variety of materials can be used to make a deer fence, so that it will mesh in well with the house and surrounding area. Establishing a hedge for keeping deer out can also work, although this represents several years of commitment.

If a fence is not an option, you can undertake several measures to make the garden less appealing to deer, in the hopes that this well keep them out. Planting a dense garden is an excellent way to start keeping deer away, as they do not like confined spaces. In addition to keeping your plantings dense, make sure that the paths between them twist and turn, and that a clear view is interrupted by trees and garden features.

Planting deer resistant plants, especially around the edges of a garden, can also help with keeping deer out. All of the following plants tend to be unappealing to deer, although they are not deer proof, as deer will eat anything when they are hungry enough. Try planting snapdragons, salvia, petunias, nicotiana, alyssum, marigolds, begonias, columbine, foxglove, lavender, nepeta, daffodils, hyacinths, bee balm, butterfly bush, holly, daisies, tiger lilies, wisteria, bougainvillea, iris, yarrow, narciss, dahlias, juniper, scotch broom, and ornamental grasses, as these are some common deer resistant plants.

Finally, some gardeners use solutions which blend things like garlic, cayenne pepper, soap, egg, or urine with water, spraying the solution around the garden and refreshing it when it rains. All of these substances are distasteful to deer, and they may avoid plants or areas sprayed with them. However, deer in different regions respond differently, so it may require some experimentation to find the best solution. Commercial deer repellent is also available, and gardeners have varying success rates with these repellents.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a HomeQuestionsAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By sevenseas — On Nov 16, 2008

Poppy, crocus,lupine, Shasta daisy, larkspur, and thyme, are some additional plants that deer finds unappetizing. You can also use a natural spray on your plants and herbs to keep the deer away.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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