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Farmers Almanac
The 2017 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Deer Me!

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Deer Me!

Recently, we celebrated the full Buck Moon, which took place on July 1st. This Moon is so named in July because it is the time when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It is a process that enlarges antlers as the deer grows. I would equate it to a teenage growth spurt. And just like a growing teen, deer crave food during this time.

So over the July 4th holiday weekend, I saw that two of my hosta plants had been destroyed by a single deer one night. Deer are creatures of habit and once they find something tasty, they usually return for more. Many animals don’t like hostas but they are a feast for bucks. So what to do?

These tried-and-true remedies are great for deterring deer without chemicals:

  • Hot red pepper or Cayenne – sprinkle over surviving plants.
  • Dried Blood or Blood Meal (found at home garden centers) – put on stems and that will send a message.
  • Dial soap is reported to be a deterrent – original. Has to be Dial. Drill a hole and hang from trees or shave pieces and put in a stocking and hang.
  • Aluminum foil – the refection scares them.
  • Tin cans tied to a post – the sound startles them.

The antler season last about 2 months, so if you have a similar problem, it’s best to nip it early. And, if you can determine the direction from which the deer are coming, you might spread the dried blood meal along the path to send a “stay out” message even before they set foot in your yard.

Hostas-before

What a hosta looks like before ….

Hostas-after

A hosta plant – after the deer had a nibble

If you have a another solution to deter deer, I’d love to hear it!

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16 comments

1 Henry Hekker { 10.26.15 at 10:26 am }

On the other hand give up and enjoy them. We live in rural Texas and the severe drought has affected their food and water supply. We buy 800 pounds of deer feed (corn, nuggets, and protein) a month and have 5 water stations. We also buy 300 pounds of black oil sunflower seed, 100 pounds of scratch, and 40 pounds of Niger thistle for the birds. 30 pounds of raw peanuts for birds and squirrels. One evening I was in the barn mixing the deer feed when a doe walked in and reminded me I was 20 minutes late with dinner. 8 others were waiting outside. The area between the house and barn is fenced in with cattle panel for the dogs to run and my wife’s plants. We enjoy sitting on the deck and watching all the critters that come in.

2 Gloria Boyd { 07.25.15 at 8:07 am }

Will the same deterrents work for groundhogs? They are a huge problem for our garden. They burrow under fencing.

3 Aaron { 07.16.15 at 6:25 am }

I am a proffesional nuisance trapper and best repellent i use and recommend is coyote urine, can be found online by the gallon from trap supply companies and put in a spray bottle, spray the perimeter of your property about once a week,and enjoy deer free food. We at our own home last year had 5 deer hanging around trying to destroy the garden this year deer stay in the next yard over and wander on.

4 Linda Hanson { 07.14.15 at 9:50 pm }

A raw egg in a empty gallon milk jug, shake it up and use to water your hosta’s, refill as necessary. Done this for two years now, and my hosta’s have not dessert for the deer.

5 Jay Rector { 07.14.15 at 9:17 pm }

36″ chicken wire laid on th ground on the out side of your fence. Deer are high jumpers not broad jumpers.

6 maria ruocco { 07.14.15 at 7:55 pm }

the best thing to keep the nibblers away from our gardens was from a friendship with a local animal farm and the availability of big cat scat- applied around the perimeter and nothing entered the garden

7 Renee { 07.14.15 at 7:30 pm }

Milorganite works great. Replace it once a month. It’s also a fertilizer

8 Renee { 07.14.15 at 7:28 pm }

Milorganite, works great. Replace it every month. Best thing, it’s also a fertilizer

9 Sarah Trickett { 07.14.15 at 1:24 pm }

i agree with Nancy, Liquid Fence is the only thing I’ve had success with. It works really well!!!!

10 Cyndi { 07.14.15 at 11:35 am }

Cyndi’s Deer Juice-
2 raw eggs, 4 cloves garlic minced, 2 TBSP hot sauce, 2TBSP Cayenne pepper, 2 cups water! Puree together in mason jar, let sit on counter for two days, then store in refridgerator. I use a paint brush and just dip the brush in and flick(splash) it at the plants you are protecting. Spray bottles get clogged right away. We have tons of deer here and I have been using this for 4 years and have never had a problem since then. Good luck and get ‘flicking’ !;-D

11 Linda Biggs { 07.14.15 at 11:09 am }

Moving to the Blue Ridge Parkway of Va, we were not sure of deer OR bear. Well, the garden has been in since early-mid may. So far the plants inside the fence of 5.5 ft above ground are safe. deer visit the apple tree right next to it and are satisfied with just apples so far. I made the garden narrow and long with lots of tall tomato stakes throughout to be confusing and spikey. Near each end it still looked easy to jump in so I tied roping crisscrossing through each end just over my head. So far, so good. The deer are curious and sniff around. Just outside the fenced part are potatoes, cuke plants and 2 types of winter
squash. Starting to produce small fruit with no damage! To protect all my work I will buy blood meal and apply. Thanks for info!

12 Nancy { 07.14.15 at 11:08 am }

I have found a product called Liquid Fence that really works. I have tried all the other solutions and nothing seems to work. Thanks to this product I actually have had lilies, hosta, phlox and tomatoes for 2 years straight now! With the excessive rain we have had this year I have had to apply it a little more often, but generally it is good for a few weeks. It can be found at any of the home stores. It says it is environmentally safe.

13 Susan Higgins { 07.14.15 at 11:06 am }

Thank you, Paula Dupree, we appreciate your kind words! We hope that many parents and teachers use the Almanac as a tool to teach kids about gardening, astronomy, etc.

14 Paula Dupree { 07.13.15 at 2:13 pm }

I truly believe from my heart, Farmers Almanac should advertise toward children.
There is so much our children are learning in this fast pace world, except some of the little things in life. Like making summer Sun Tea or what the moon, sun, water is all about. After all the moon, sun, water makes our planet whole. And of course GARDENING. Thank you Farmers for educating me every day.
Nana P. Dupree

15 Susan Higgins { 07.14.15 at 11:09 am }

Chris Aylward, thank you for kindly pointing out our mistake, we have changed the captions on the photos.

16 Chris Aylward { 07.09.15 at 10:31 am }

This would have gone better and been more feasible if you had posted a picture of the same hosta. They are not even the same variety. Duh! Also, nothing deters deer except a 7 foot high fence. I have been battling the little buggers for 13 years in Quispamsis and had no plants until the fence went in. It’s 1 foot off the ground and 7 feet tall. They crawled under when it was 2 feet off the ground, so I had to add cross rails to the bottom. I tried every product possible including a very expensive spray to no avail. If you have deer, a fence of a free ranging large dog are about the only deterrents that will guarantee the safety of your prized plants.

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