How to Keep Deer Away From Vegetable Gardens

Overview

Preventing deer from eating your flowers and vegetables can be difficult. There are many anecdotal solutions, from fencing to spreading human hair around your plants, that may help you preserve your garden. However, deer are clever and often find a way around these barriers. Your best bet is to divert the deer from your garden while also deterring them from eating your plants. If the deer have other feeding grounds this approach should work well, but if your garden is a main food source you may have to change your approach every few weeks to keep persistent deer away.

Step 1

Redirect the deer away from your vegetable garden. Deer eat as they walk, so if your garden is on their regular path your plants are far more likely to be eaten. Place salt licks in the surrounding area 100 to 200 yards away from your vegetable garden. These salt licks will attract deer and can encourage them to walk around your garden rather than through it.

Step 2

Spread something smelly around your plants. Deer are repelled by certain smells, and most sprays or home remedies for deer problems are based on this principle. Common techniques include hanging bags of mothballs around the garden, spreading hair around your vegetables, using a commercial deer repellent, shaving bar soap around the garden's perimeter or surrounding plants with chicken manure. Commercial sprays usually smell like rotten eggs combined with garlic, but the smell should be unnoticeable to humans once it dries.

Step 3

Add fencing around your vegetable garden. This is the largest deterrent to deer and other creatures. Make the fence as tall and sturdy as possible; deer have been known to clear 6-foot fences. While it's possible deer will jump over your fence or find another way to get inside, fencing will make it much harder for them to access your vegetables and they will likely look elsewhere for food. Electric fences that provide a mild shock are particularly effective.

Step 4

Get a dog, or borrow a friend's for a few nights. Dogs that will bark and chase animals off your property can scare deer away for quite some time. Let the dog into the yard when you see the deer near your garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Salt licks
  • Mothballs (optional)
  • Human hair (optional)
  • Commercial deer repellent (optional)
  • Bar soap (optional)
  • Chicken manure (optional)
  • Fence
  • Dog

References

  • Carolina Country: How to Keep Deer and Rabbits Out of Your Gardens
  • Havahart Deer Off II
  • Pittsburg Tribune: Solutions for Keeping Deer Out of Your Garden
Keywords: deer repellent, stop deer from eating plants, protect garden from deer

About this Author

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor's degree in legal studies, Hanna Terhaar began working full-time as a freelance writer. In the nine months she has been working professionally, Terhaar's articles have been published on sites such as eHow.com, DIY Chatroom and The Daily Puppy.