I have lived in the same home for over 25 years in a semi rural area. We have a stream and large batches of blackberries and trees across the street from us. Although this has been home to much wildlife including deer, we have had very little trouble with deer until this year. With the ongoing drought, this all seems to have changed. This year I have a deer problem. They are trying to eat my garden.
The other night they ate all the flowers and buds of my wife’s roses. Fortunately, I saw them before they got to the garden and ran them out off the back yard. While most of our yard is fenced there are a couple of openings I will have to take care of. A big problem is that our fence is only 6 ft high and deer can jump higher than that, a fence should be at least 8 ft. I have a lot of fencing and it would take a significant amount of work and worst money to raise it. The garden is too spread out in small patches to just fence of the garden areas, I would need to fence the entire back yard.
So I have been doing some research and talking to people about how to solve my deer problem. Unfortunately, the best solution, eating the deer is out, due to a multitude of problems. So I am going to try various deer repellents and other methods of scaring them away. I see deer repellent for sale at the nursery and on the internet, but it is quite expensive, some costing well over $100 for a gallon of concentrate.
So I have been investigating various homemade mixtures. One that comes highly recommended to me is the following solution for your deer problems.
- A bar of Fels Naptha soap
- 2 bunches of scallions, chopped up
- 2 heads of garlic, separate the cloves
- 4 eggs, rotten is ok
- Lots of chili or habanero powder
- Fill a five gallon bucket half full with water
- Shave soap into small pieces and dissolve in the water
- Place the scallions, garlic, eggs and chili powder in a large piece of doubled cheesecloth. Tie up the ends and break the eggs. Place the pouch in the bucket of water.
- Put a tight fitting lid on the bucket and set it in the shade for about a week.
- Spray the mixture around your garden. It needs to be redone about every two weeks or after a rain.
I intent to try this mixture and will let you know how well it works. The solutions for repelling deer are based on two factors, one deer depend on their sense of smell to find food, and two they are skittish.
Some gardeners swear by hanging fabric softener strips and/or wrapped bars of soap from trees, both of which can confuse a deer’s sense of smell. Others point to using hot pepper sprays, garlic and rotten egg mixtures, ammonia-soaked rags, and bags of hair and/or blood meal around the garden for the same reason. Even wind chimes were suggested, since strange noises and movement will scare deer. One problem is that deer get used to strange things so the trick is to switch things up, learning by trial and error, for maximum efficiency.
An idea that I have had is to go to a local shop that sells hunting supplies and get a predator scent, that smells like coyote urine and sprinkle that around the yard. It is not very expensive at about $10 a bottle.
One thing to remember is to be careful what you spray on plants that you intend to eat; you might get a surprise when you bite into a piece of lettuce covered in habanero powder.
A good solid 8 ft fence is always the best option, but it is not always possible. I am still looking for better solutions to my deer problems, if you have a good one please share it with us.