A reader and friend who lives at the other end of my state (Mississippi) emailed me before Easter. She asked me to write a post about what to plant that the deer won’t eat. They have eaten everything in her yard down to a nub. Oh, deer is right!
Why didn’t I think of writing on this topic before? Why didn’t it occur to me that many of you could have this problem? Of course you may struggle with deer eating your plantings. Of course you’re upset…after all that work and care you put into those now-eaten plants!
I promise, it’s not that I didn’t care. I just forgot about that problem because it’s not a pain point for me anymore.
Why? Because we don’t have a problem with deer munching away on our plants. We even see deer tracks right up near the house during this time of year when it’s rainy and our dormant grass hasn’t filled in yet. So, why don’t the deer eat our plants?
When we moved to The Land of Making Do, we had only a few trees in the yard. No bushes. No flowers. A blank slate. As I shared in this post. Horrors – I know!
I ordered several books to guide me, one of which is the Southern Living Garden Book, revised edition (2004). In my cabinet filled with hard-back garden books and my collection of gardening magazines, this book is my all-time favorite.
It’s my gardening GO-TO.
It’s a real deal now on Amazon*. I paid much more for it…and would again. It’s been worth it.
With this book as my guide, I planted bushes, trees, and flowers that the deer wouldn’t be interested in eating. It worked.
I created a PDF for you from The Southern Living Garden Book’s list of the plantings deer don’t like. Click the image below to access the list. I hope it helps you make choices for plantings that will survive the “Oh, Deer!”, give you peace (like me!), and make you happy. 🙂
Also, This Old House has this helpful article.
I’ve read that deer are put off by the strong scent of most herbs and also coneflower, goldenrod, black-eyed Susan, and all sorts of alliums. They don’t eat poisonous perennials like daffodils, foxglove, monkshood, and Lenten roses. (How do they know? Ha!)
Deer avoid prickly plants like juniper, barberry, holly, and fuzzy ones, such as lamb’s ear, hollyhock, and borage. Although, I’ve read that they like to eat rose blooms. Go figure!
If you’re in a situation where you need to repel deer, these are a few of the suggestions I’ve seen.
Hang bars of Lifeboy™ soap from shrubbery branches,
although I’ve seen them eat azalea bushes regardless of the soap hanging there.
(Run a threaded needle through the bar, wrapper on, and tie the thread ends around the branch.)
Hang old CD’s and/or DVD’s from branches, or bags of dog or human hair
(your hair stylist will give you all you need!)
Create a barrier with extremely tall fencing – or double fencing spaced five feet apart.
Spray plantings with coyote urine (yuk!), hot pepper sauce, or an egg mixed with a gallon of water.
Reader Teresa shared her tips in a comment on my What’s Blooming Wednesday #38 post.
I use a deer sprayer; it works great and finally hope to have hydrangea this year. I recently read that white plastic bags strung up will work as they move in the breeze and look like deer tails when sensing danger. Whatever the reason they work, and don’t need to be left up all season.
Deer follow scent trails so once they’re “off the scent”, it’s safe. I had a dam foal in my lower yard a couple of years ago, but try now to keep them out. With development of nearby woods, they have nowhere to go.
Do you have another deer repellent that works well? Pretty please, will you share it with us in the comments below?
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