White-tailed deer, which are the most common deer found in Georgia, were nearly eliminated at one time. Now it’s not uncommon in our area to find ‘Bambi’ has visited our garden. Sometimes it’s the hoof-prints that give it away, occasionally we glimpse the deer and, other times, we find out which plants they really like – usually our Hosta are nibbled on first.
Deer routinely browse 5 to 6 feet off the ground and are most active around dawn and dusk. Bucks can weigh as much as 250 – 300 pounds so you can understand why they eat between 4 to 10 pounds of food per day. Most newborns (fawns) are born between May and August consequently your population will grow in the summer months.
Deer do have a preference for certain plants, fruits and nuts. Some of their favorites include Hosta, azalea, honeysuckle, rhododendron, hydrangea, tulips, acorns, grapes, apples, blackberries, maples, grasses, corn and sumac. In a few hours or days they can devour your garden that you have spent weeks on.
It is suggested that if you haven’t had deer in your garden yet but know they are in your area to try preventative measures before they find tasty tidbits in your garden and become a regular visitor.
Deer are frightened of new things. If you try something and it stops working after awhile, try rotating through different deterrents.
Possible deterrents include:
Fencing (electric or not): at least 7 - 8’ high and dug into the ground so that the fawns can’t get underneath; Deer-X Protective Fencing
Offensive scents: hanging bags of strong scented soap wrapped in cloth around your garden area; planting garlic bulbs; using rotten eggs, blood-derived or fish products, clove, mint, cinnamon or citrus to ward them off; repellent plants such as tansy, yarrow, tarragon, mint, dill, chives; ammonia. We spray with Liquid Fence every 6 weeks and have great success with that.
We carry the following seeds of plants which are deer-resistant:
Borage, Alyssum Basket of Gold, Sweet Alyssum, Bee Balm, Butterfly Flower, Calendula, Cleome, Coreopsis, Columbine, Cosmos, Forget-Me-Not, Foxglove, Gaillardia, Gaura, Impatiens, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Penstemon, Poppies, Quinoa, Rosemary, Rudbeckia, Sage Broadleaf, Salvia, Snapdragon, Sunflowers, and Verbena.
Other plants and trees you might try include: cedar, firs, maples, bottle brush buckeye, bugle weed, butterfly bush, boxwood, holly, Daphne, forsythia, crape myrtle, Formosa azaleas and lantana.
Predator scents: Deer Scram, gather your human hair (or get hair from a salon) and hang it in bags around your garden; predator urine (soak cloth with the product and put it in a plastic containers with holes and place around the garden)
Other: bright lights, radio (or other noise), pie pans attached to tree or large shrubs; chicken wire on the ground around the garden(creates a sharp surface), scarecrows, wind chimes
Note: deer are also afraid of coyotes – and we do have some of those around, too.We learned there is nothing deer won’t eat if they are hungry enough. So, there are no guarantees but give some of these ideas a try and maybe the deer will go elsewhere for their snacks!