How to Keep Deer From Tomato Plants & Dwarf Fruit Trees


You might have tender feelings about deer because they are graceful woodland creatures and might remind you of the cartoon character Bambi. But deer can cause major damage to vegetable gardens and fruit trees of many kinds. And they can be difficult to keep out of your tomato bed or orchard. As many as two million deer live in the United States---they all belong to two main species, the white-tailed deer and the mule deer. Deer are not afraid of populated areas and often visit suburban gardens at night in search of food---they like cultivated, fertilized plants, so keep your tomatoes under lock and key if you have deer.

Step 1

Build a fence that is at least eight feet tall to keep all types of deer out of your yard. If it's not possible to fence your entire property or garden, you can encircle your dwarf fruit trees and tomato plants with a ring of wire. Make sure its gauge is small enough to prevent a deer from sticking his head through the openings.

Step 2

Install an electric fence. Make sure you string the wire as high as eight feet from the ground and also string several wires between ground level and your fence's top to prevent crafty deer from sneaking under or between the wires.

Step 3

Place wire fencing on the ground around your trees and tomatoes. Even dogs will not walk over wire, and deer are no exception. Chicken wire or narrow gauge poultry wire or hog wire work well.

Step 4

Spray repellent products on your trees. Such products are available commercially and contain ingredients such as old eggs and coyote urine.

Step 5

Try an ultrasonic repellent: these products emit an irritating noise that only animals can hear, and which makes them stay away from the area where these devices are located.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not be tempted to shoot deer.

Things You'll Need

  • Fencing materials
  • Repellent spray
  • Ultrasonic device


  • Outdoor Adventures
  • Mother Earth News

Who Can Help

  • Repellent products
  • Ultrasonic repellent
Keywords: deer pests, gardens fencing, controlling animals

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi‘iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Barbara 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, and She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.