Posted on 8 Comments

Oh Deer Me!

HostasWell, this isn’t about quilts. It is about gardening. It is that time of year when I look at my vegetable garden and see the kale, spinach, lettuce and onions coming along. I also look with optimism at my flower gardens. I see the beginnings of the hostas and perennials and think that maybe just maybe this year the deer will leave them alone.

I have tried all sorts of remedies to keep the deer away from my plants. I don’t have to worry about the vegetable garden because it is fenced, but everything else is fair game. Two years ago I got Luke, a new yellow lab.  He seemed to be quite the hunter and I was greatly encouraged when he would chase the deer out of our yard. However, that fun didn’t last long. Now all the deer are his buddies and they hang out together.

Malorganite (an organic fertilizer) works really well as a repellent. It is granular and can be sprinkled around the plants that the deer like to eat. The deer don’t like the smell and stay away. The problem is that both Luke and my other lab, Gus, love the smell and like to eat it, so I can’t use it anymore.

Deer1Last year, I tried a remedy that I read about and put Bounce dryer sheets all around. The deer really stayed away, but the problem was that the sheets have to be replaced periodically and I missed my window of opportunity when one morning I awoke and all the hostas were gone. I had become too lax and hadn’t replaced the Bounce sheets soon enough.

A couple of months from now I hope all my plants will be flourishing…….I’m trying something new!

Deer2This year I’m trying a concoction of Bounty fabric softener mixed with ammonia. I’m spraying a little of this around the plants day and night. I’m also putting the Bounce sheets around. So far, so good, but it is really too soon to tell. I’ll keep you posted because I’m sure I’m not the only one with this problem.

Do you have a remedy to keep deer away from your plants? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

8 thoughts on “Oh Deer Me!

  1. I know this feeling of the wildlife eating all my beautiful plants. I lost all my camellias and blueberries plants last spring but the culprits were neighbours sheep got out and the rabbits dig under the fences to get into the yard. I hope your stay away treatment work.

  2. jinny,
    The only thing I’ve found that works is a very tall fence and electricity. Everything else eventually looses its effectiveness, or requires such constant vigilance that I just can’t keep up. I gave up on hostas long ago. I do love hydrangea, which deer also love, so I try to keep the hydrangeas sprayed with deer away, but they still nibble at them at some point. We had major damage over the winter, again. Cedars and American holly decimated from ground to shoulder height. It’s exasperating. I’m slowing cutting back on ornamentals, switching only to natives (which doesn’t guarantee they won’t get eaten, either!) and constantly trying to keep the deer fence secure around the veggie garden. I’m in western Loudoun County. Just too many deer!

  3. Good Morning Jinny: Apparently cut hair,(from humans) will keep the deer away. Just lay it on the soil all around your plants. I started to smile when you said you got a dog named Luke. After all the videos I have seen on Facebook, where dogs and deer frolic in the fields together, that was bound to happen with your dog too, I said to myself as I continued on reading. Well good luck. I am off to a quilting retreat for 4 days.

  4. Human hair workwd well for my daughter in Indiana. To keep the deer and elk from eating our aspens we spray them with “Plant Skyyd”. It was formulated somewhere in Scandinavia I have heard and is all natural. It does stink to high heaven but has worked well for us in Montana. My sis is a master gardener and recommended it!

  5. I used to cut my kid’s hair at home and I would strew it around my garden to keep the rabbits out and it worked.

  6. Hi Jinny, Love your dog story, too cute. Our yard falls away to woods and a pond here in Ma, equipped with more than our fair share of visitors eating anything green. Some plants repel them with fuzzy or hairy leaves. For the hostas, I make a mixture of spices they don’t like the smell of, cinnamon, cloves, curry powder, cayenne pepper, garlic, etc. They stay away for a while until it rains. Cinnamon sticks standing like soldiers and whole cloves last longer. One trick that works pretty well is small back to back mirrors dangling from fishing line spooks them as they move in the breeze. This year I am attaching small bells to fishing line, low enough for them to bump into them as they try to “dine”.

  7. I just became a country girl last year, so I can’t say this from my own experience, but, one of my neighbors put up a very small makeshift rectangular greenhouse to keep a few plants from freezing. It is constructed with studs vertically and 2×4″s or 2×6’s horizontally to frame it and 6 wooden palates( two make the floor, two on the lower section of the back wall and one on each end) The front wall is open, then the whole thing is covered in heavy visqueen. The opening on one front corner is kept closed with velcro. . She put it right next to her garden. She ran an exterior extension cord to the inside, plugged in a plant light and a radio which plays day and night. She has not had a problem in her garden with deer or any other animals for over six months. Everyone else around here has the same problems as you do. Hope you find a permanent, safe, healthy solution.

  8. In the northeast, deer hate lavender. For the past 6 years, I have used lavender as a border plant around hostas located in a deer run where we usually see 5 to 6 deer per day. The deer just walk right by the hosta bed. I also buy cheap air spray from the Dollar Store and spray it on the leaves of plants the deer might like. The smell lasts for a long time, makes the gardens smell good and keeps the deer away. Deer hate smelly plants.

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