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Home Remedies for Keeping Deer Out of Gardens

By Barbara Fahs ; Updated September 21, 2017
Deer can wreak havoc in your garden.
deer image by Henryk Olszewski from Fotolia.com

Deer often decimate garden areas that take a lot of time to establish. Deer eat many different types of plants, including the buds of flowering plants such as fruit trees, bark, berries, leaves and shoots, according to Karlloren.com. There are several effective home remedies for keeping deer out of your garden.

Homemade Spray

Beat together two eggs, 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of water and a wetting agent (available at nurseries) in a spray bottle. Spray this concoction directly onto the plants you have noticed deer eating. Repeat your application every week.

Indirect Repellants

Fill old pantyhose or knee-high stockings with human hair, then hang them every 4 feet around the plants deer have been eating. Another method is to soak rags in ammonia and hang them in the same manner; reapply the ammonia at least once each week. Alternate these two methods because deer are smart and will figure out that your repellents are not a threat to them.

Build a Fence

Deer are jumpers, so if you build a protective fence around plants you want to protect, make it 8 feet tall. Use sturdy fence posts that you sink in cement and narrow-gauge wire that prevents deer from poking their heads through gaps in larger-gauge wire. If you are unable to fence your entire garden, encircle individual plants or smaller areas with your fencing material. The folks at Benner’s Gardens claim that if you simply lay wire fencing on the ground around your trees and other plants deer like to eat, they will not walk over it.

Dogs and Cats

Dogs frighten deer—if they are awake during the dusk and dawn times that deer usually feed. Also, the people at Bluegrass Gardens believe that their cats help keep deer away when they use garden areas as a litter box.

Grow Repellent Plants

According to NorthernGardening.com, deer never eat ornamental grasses. If you plant some of the following around your garden border, they can help to repel deer: lavender, sage, lemon balm, bee balm, Russian sage, thorny plants (except roses), barberry, purple coneflower, tickseed, lily of the valley, blue fescue grass, baby’s breath, St. John’s wort and catnip.


About the 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 and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.