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Deer Garden Defense

Melissa Dunlap is a writer, editor and blogger specializing in lifestyle communications. Fueled by curiosity, and a tad too much coffee, Melissa enjoys dissecting current trends for the modern woman. When she's not having dance parties w...

Use store-bought and homemade defense devices and deterrents to protect your yard from deer damage.

During the winter months, when food is sparse in the forest, wilderness creatures wander into our yards, looking to nibble on trees, shrubs and whatever else looks appetizing. I recently read that deer are responsible for $250 million in home landscaping damage each year. 


During the winter months, when food is sparse in the forest, wilderness creatures wander into our yards, looking to nibble on trees, shrubs and whatever else looks appetizing. I recently read that deer are responsible for $250 million in home landscaping damage each year.  Obviously, this doesn't happen in urban areas, but homes in the outlying suburbs can feel the wrath of nature's creatures as they get bolder in their cold-season search for food. Planning your yard to be naturally deer resistant could help, as some plants are more susceptible to damage than others.

Here are some strategies to help protect your expensive landscaping investment:

  • Wire cages around trees and shrubs can keep rabbits and rodents from munching on shrubs and perennial plants. Wire mesh cages around the base of bushes, trees or shrubs can be secured with twist ties so smaller critters can't get to your plants. Heavier wire cages can deter antler rubbing.

  • Fences can keep out deer, but they must be tall--deer can jump as high as 6 feet, and they will if they see something they want on the other side. If an 8-foot fence isn't your cup of tea, try parallel fences spaced a few feet apart or plant shrubs on either side of the fence to create a visual barrier. Deer won't jump when they can't see where they're headed.

  • Sticks and stakes that point outward will deter deer from rubbing their antlers and stripping bark from young trees. Place stakes in the ground, pointed at an angle outward so if a deer walks toward them it will give him a poke back.

  • Repellents will work as long as animals aren't too hungry. Deer and rabbits don't like strong scents and hate anything that smells human. Hang mothballs or bars of scented soap from trees as a deterrent. As odd as it sounds, bags of human hair is a reliable deer repellents. Ask local hair salons to save hair for you, and hang small mesh bags full of hair from trees and place them around your garden.


Although these garden animal control measures are not the most beautiful addition to your yard, they are only temporary. When winter ends, a lot of hungry animals will return to the forest and your garden will be safe for a while.
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