If you live near a rural area you have probably encountered deer rummaging through your garden. I’m all in favor of Santa and his reindeer, but the typical deer can be a devastating visitor to your garden. What can you do to keep them from munching away on your tasty garden plants?
There’s no 100% foolproof plan but Jeff Bredenberg, author of “How To Cheat at Gardening,” notes, “Eventually, deer will overcome their reluctance to enter your garden and their lust for your garden plants will draw them back. Your surest defense is to rotate your deer-repelling tactics.”
Try a garlic spray for a month. Or you can spread coyote urine the next month. These products are available at most garden centers. The author notes, “Whatever you do, don’t let down your guard for a month. Persistence counts.”
I mentioned in a previous column watching a deer enjoying its breakfast in my garden when I lived in a wooded area in Oklahoma City. Fortunately, the animal control unit was swift in coming to take the deer away, without harm.
My home in Muskogee is well fenced and gated. A deer would have to be an acrobat to get through the two gates to the back lawn. Of course, the front lawn is open territory.
There is not a fool-proof strategy for repelling deer away from your property. Some of the remedies have “marginal folklore status” according to Bredenberg’s advice. That may be disappointing but the chapter titled “Bambi and Other Furry Creatures” notes: “Even the most effective approaches will not provide 100 percent protection against deer indefinitely. Eventually, deer will overcome their reluctance to enter your garden and their lust for garden plants will draw them back.”
Bredenberg notes, “Your best defense is to rotate your deer repelling tactics.”
The products mentioned are usually available at most garden centers. Start with the coyote urine, then switch to a liquid fencing product for another month. Then try the garlic spray or you can protect your trees with chicken wire.
What do deer love to eat? Fruits from apple, peach, cherry and pear trees. They also like strawberries, blackberries and grapes. They also love munching on your spring tulips. Nothing is sacred in your garden when a deer is hungry.
Micki J. Shelton is a Muskogee native and master gardener.