How to Stop a Deer From Eating Tomato Plants

Overview

If Bambi lives in your neighborhood, he might eat your tomatoes for dinner before you get a chance to enjoy this summer fruit. Deer are common garden pests in many parts of the United States. They're cute, with those big, brown eyes, but you'll want to find humane ways of keeping them out of your garden if you don't want to share your harvest with these woodland creatures that come in search of food at night.

Stopping Deer From Eating Tomatoes

Step 1

Use a repellent spray product on your tomato plants and other plants growing near them. Deer don't like the smell of certain odiferous substances, such as old eggs and coyote urine. Repellent products are safe to use in your vegetable garden, according to the manufacturer of Deer Away repellent.

Step 2

Install a standard fence that is at least 8 feet tall or an electric fence with wire up to 8 feet from the ground. If you choose an electric fence, install several parallel wires from ground level to the 8-foot mark to prevent deer from sneaking in between the wires. You only need to turn on the electricity at night. If you don't want an electric fence, install a standard fence made from chain link or heavy gauge wire. All types of fences must be 8 feet tall or more because deer are good jumpers.

Step 3

Encircle each tomato plant with heavy gauge wire such as hog wire if your budget doesn't include fencing your entire garden. Purchase narrow-gauge wire so deer cannot poke their heads through your wire fence, and make the "cages" tall enough and large enough so the deer can't reach tomatoes growing high on the vine or fruit that could be sticking through the openings in the wire.

Step 4

Try laying wire fencing on the ground around the border of your garden where your tomatoes live. Deer don't like the feel of wire on their hooves, so they don't usually tread over areas where wire covers the ground.

Step 5

Purchase an ultrasonic product designed to keep deer away by emitting an annoying noise.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not shoot deer. Doing so can be dangerous and might be prohibited, especially if you live in a residential neighborhood.

Things You'll Need

  • Repellent spray
  • Electric fence materials
  • Fencing materials
  • Ultrasonic device

References

  • University of Vermont: Controlling Animal Pests
  • Mother Earth News: North American Deer

Who Can Help

  • Deer-Repellents.com: Electronic and Ultrasonic Repellents
  • Deer-Repellents.com: Products
Keywords: deer pests, tomato predators, gardening vegetables

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.