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How to keep deer out of your garden

The best ways to keep deer out of your garden

When it comes to your backyard garden, just a few hungry deer can wipe out your entire yield.

To protect your plants, you must find a way to keep deer off your property and away from your vegetables. In this article, we consider a deer’s motivation and examine a few strategies that can help protect your garden.

Understanding deer behavior

Before talking about keeping deer away from your garden, we need to look at what attracts them to your yard and their typical behavior patterns. 

Why deer are attracted to your yard

Deer are no different than people. They need to eat and drink to stay alive. If deer have found their way onto your property, it is because there is something there that makes their survival a little easier. The key factors that entice deer to your yard are available food or available water combined with a certain level of safety.

If deer are hungry, they may eat nearly anything, but in general, they tend to gravitate toward crops such as lettuce, cabbage, beans, broccoli and cauliflower. Additionally, many trees, shrubs and flowering plants can initially lure deer onto your property.

Deer are creatures of habit

As long as conditions remain favorable, there is food or water and the deer feel safe, deer will create a habit that involves regularly visiting your lawn and garden. They will continue until the food or water supply is no longer there, or the area becomes routinely unsafe.

Deer are prey animals

Deer are cautious and suspicious because they are always on the menu. Even when it looks like they are relaxed, they are on high alert. It doesn’t take much to spook a deer. However, as skittish as they are, deer quickly adopt new behavior patterns that allow them to circumvent threats. This is why it can be difficult to permanently keep deer out of your yard and garden once they have discovered there is an ample supply of food or water.

Signs that you have deer

Deer are what is known as a crepuscular species. This means they are most active at dusk and dawn. Depending on your sleeping habits, you may never see deer in your yard, so you’ll need to look for the three following clues to confirm it is deer that are being a nuisance.

  • Deer droppings: If you find a small pile of pebble-like droppings in your yard, you can confirm that deer have been there.
  • Deer tracks: While everyone can probably imagine what a deer’s hoof looks like, depending on how soft your lawn is, the tracks may be incomplete and only appear as what vaguely resembles a pair of bunny ears pressed into the dirt or grass. This is a clear indication that deer feel safe exploring your property.
  • Torn vegetation: Deer do not have upper teeth. When they bite something, they hold it in their mouth and yank to tear it off. If you discover several torn leaves or vegetation in your garden, you likely have a hungry deer problem.

What you need to buy for keeping deer out of your garden

Since you can't take away a deer's food source (your garden), the best strategy is to either make your garden less accessible to the deer or make the deer feel unsafe on your property. Following are some products and solutions that may help you keep deer out of your garden.

Feitore Deer Fence Netting

Erecting a physical barrier to keep deer away from your garden is a solid solution, but it may detract from your backyard aesthetics. This durable polypropylene fence netting is 7 feet high by 100 feet long.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Orbit Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler

This solution uses an infrared motion sensor to trigger a blast of water that frightens the deer. It can spray up to 70 feet in a full circular motion to discourage the curious critters from dining.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Safer Brand Deer Repellent Stations

This deer repellent uses dried blood to spook deer into thinking there is a predator nearby. The weatherproof casings allow each station to remain functional for up to an entire season.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Bobbex Concentrated Deer Repellent

This popular, long-lasting, rain-resistant option is environmentally friendly and uses natural ingredients that deter a deer through unpleasant scents and tastes. While it is safe for many plants, it is not designed to use edible leaves, herbs or rough-skinned berries. Read the product’s label before applying.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Enviro Pro Deer Scram Repellent

A higher-end, non-toxic repellent that does not produce an offensive odor to humans, this option frightens deer away because the smell mimics the scent of a deceased deer. It is biodegradable and lasts roughly 30 days, depending on weather conditions.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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