Plants That Repel Deer
Gardeners living in deer country know that deer are determined predators. The only guaranteed way to stop them is a 10-foot fence. Unfortunately, that isn't always a practical solution. What else can you do? Plant a living barrier of plants that deer are known to dislike. Gardeners swear by many plants for this purpose, and a beautiful garden is enhanced by a thick border of attractive and deer-repellent shrubs, trees and other plants.
Use common landscape trees, such as Silver maple, Norway maple, dogwood, hawthorn, cedar, white ash, American holly, sweetgum, spruce (white, Colorado, Norway), Pine (Mugo, Japanese Black, white), or poplar.
Use any of a variety of shrubs, including serviceberry, barberry, butterfly bush, boxwood, sweet pepperbush, smoke tree, cotoneaster, broom, campanula, forsythia, rose of sharon, eastern red cedar, crape myrtle, mahonia, bayberry, cinquefoil, sassafras, spirea or yucca.
Many herbaceous plants are particularly effective in repelling deer. Many of them were common regulars in old time gardens. Try any of these: yarrow, monkshood, lily of the Nile, floss flower, allium, chives, pearly everlasting, windflower, columbine, cress, sea pink, artemisia, astilbe, calendula, Canterbury bells, daisies and chrysanthemums, coreopsis, delphinium, bleeding heart, foxglove, wood fern, fescue grass, gaillardia, hyacinth, St. John's wort, iris, toad flax, lupine, rose campion, spearmint, bells of Ireland, daffodils, sword fern, cat mint, catnip, marjoram, peony, oriental poppy, Russian sage, tansy, bracken, pasque flower, rosemary, sage or salvia, lavender cotton, lamb's ear, germander, trillium, and chain fern.
A repellent ground cover creates an effective border to any garden area. Use heather, heath, carpet bugle, lavender, manzanita (bearberry), thyme, vinca, myrtle or calla lily.
Two vines make several lists as deer resistant species: honeysuckle and wisteria.
A dog with around-the-clock access to the garden will definitely deter deer. A loud radio and lights, hooked up to a motion detector, are also very effective.
According to Mother Earth News, a rotten egg spray works well. Simply mix two or three eggs into a gallon of water and allow to sit overnight. Strain and apply with any spray equipment, weekly in spring, then every few weeks to new growth and burgeoning fruit. You won't notice it and the deer will hate it.
- University of Rhode Island Sustainable Landscapes Program
- Creating A Deer Proof Garden; Peter Derano; 2007.
- Sunset Western Garden Book; Kathleen Norris Brenzel; 2001.