Hanging a bar of scented soap in a garden will keep deer away and prevent deer damage to trees and garden plants. This effective method costs less than most of the alternatives on the market.
Gardeners with a deer problem can purchase almost any brand of scented, wrapped bar soap and hang it from a tree or post by puncturing the bar and threading a sturdy length of string or cord through the hole. Deer will be repelled by what is, to them, an overpowering scent, and avoid any garden plants near the bar of soap.
Ordinary scented bar soap costs far less than commercial deer repellents, which, at more than $40 per unit, may not be as effective as soap, according to the deer repellent study conducted by Ken Konsis in cooperation with the international Walnut Council, a sustainable forest nonprofit. Unlike other repellents, soap lasts for months or years in a garden with average rainfall without the need for reapplication, provided that it retains its water-resistant wrapper.
“Tasty” soaps with edible ingredients like coconut oil will repel deer but might attract other wildlife, such as rodents, who will eat the soap and remain in a garden they might not have visited otherwise.