The Deer Dilemma

deerIf you have lived in Southeast Georgia for any length of time then you know that one facet of landscaping is dealing with the deer population nibbling on your beautiful flowers. Finding an effective deer repellent is the easy part but making it last can be difficult.

You can ask your landscaper for deer repellent ideas, google for ideas or ask a friend what they use and you will get a number of ways to repel deer.  Below are just a few of the ways we have found that will work:

  •  Fencing –electric and nonelectric
  • Sprays and dusts – commercial and natural
  • Activated sprayers
  • Ultrasonic devices
  • Netting
  • Natural remedies: human hair, coyote urine, animal dung, deodorant soap, etc.
  • Planting unfavorable plants
  • Planting “lure” crops

All of these deer repellents are good ideas and all have been used by one person or another. What you will end up realizing is that the repellent you found to work last year is not doing so well and you are back to square one. In all your attempts to repel the deer from your landscape, the one thing that will help you the most in this battle is to learn all you can about deer. The more you understand deer, their habits and how they live the more you can keep them at bay. The following are just a few facts that will help you begin to understand deer:

  1. Deer populations are prevalent in certain areas because humans have built homes and businesses in rural deer habitats.
  2. Deer are attracted to an area because there is food.
  3. Deer eat vegetation. The fertilized plants in your landscape contain protein and supply deer with energy-rich carbohydrates, minerals and salts.
  4. Does consume a lot of food when they are pregnant and nursing (typically in spring & summer) and bucks can eat up to 5 lbs. of food per day (any day of the year).
  5. Deer receive 1/3 of their water from the moisture in irrigated plants.
  6. When food is scarce deer will eat ANY plant or shrub.
  7. Reduction of a herd of deer is not possible so begin your repellents when you first see damaged vegetation.
  8. Trapping and relocating deer is often harmful and fatal to deer.
  9. Deer do not like pungent aromas or bitter tastes.
  10. Deer acclimate themselves to the areas they live in.

Understanding deer is just one weapon in your arsenal, you also need a collection of deterrents and change them up from time to time. You will need to know the “ins and outs” of the repellent you are using to know when they need to be applied and how often. Experiment with the repellents and know the likes and dislikes of the deer in your area. Deer can become accustomed to the repellents which mean what worked one year will not work the next. Planting undesirable plants like dad used to do, will not always work because a desperate deer will do desperate things and this includes eating whatever they can find.

Knowing more about the “enemy,” stocking your arsenal and switching up the deterrents you use should give you a much better advantage over thosesweet but devastating deer pillaging your vegetation.

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