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How to Keep Deer Away From Arborvitae

deer image by Henryk Olszewski from

Arborvitae trees are evergreen trees with nice soft leaves. They can grow to reach 30 feet high and 10 feet wide. These trees thrive during the winter season, making them a prime target for deer looking for a meal. If you have arborvitae trees on your property, find ways to keep deer away from them. If you don't, the deer can eat all of the leaves and leave the tree looking sickly.

Set up a motion-activated sprinkler near your arborvitae trees. Whenever deer step near the trees, the sprinkler will detect them and shoot out a few streams of water. This will scare the deer and send them in the opposite direction.

Collect human hair and place it in a pair of stockings. Tie the stockings to the arborvitae trees. The trick to keeping deer away with human hair lies in using unwashed hair; the deer will pick up the human scent and stay away.

Repel the deer with a homemade repellent made of eggs and water. Beat your eggs and then add them to the water. Use a spray bottle to spray this repellent onto the leaves of your arborvitae trees.

Set up an 8-foot-high fence around your property. (Deer can jump shorter fences.) Though an expensive solution, a fence is the only 100 percent effective solution. The fence will protect any arborvitae trees on your property.

Arborvitae Deer Damage

Few arborvitae are safe from deer, especially in the winter when food is scarce. They are most susceptible in suburban areas where available food is even scarcer due to lack of other greenery. No arborvitae is completely safe from deer, however. When deer eat arborvitae, they graze on the greenery from the bottom of the tree to as high as they can reach. This leaves green only on the tops of the trees and "bare legs" on the bottom, as's George Weigel wrote in a 2009 blog. The damage does not often kill the trees, but it leaves an unsightly landscape mark. For trees that have no green left, you may either remove them or plant other bushes in front of them to cover the bare spots. Plants that do have green growth remaining require a little extra care. Fertilize in spring with a granulated evergreen fertilizer and water them through dry periods in the summer. This also requires frequent reapplication.


Tie some bars of soap to your arborvitae trees—another great way to repel deer so they do not eat your trees' leaves.


Reapply your egg repellent any after any rain or snow.

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