Bars of Soap as deer repellent?

Discussion in 'Fruit and Nut Trees' started by Ottawa-Zone5, May 24, 2008.

  1. Ottawa-Zone5

    Ottawa-Zone5 Active Member

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    I just read "Discourage deer from eating young shoots by using commercially available repellents, or by tying bars of soap in the trees."
    Can anyone comment on the bars of soap as a repellent and what kind of soap.
    I live in well populated area but this last winter with heavy snow the deer somehow managed to enter our backyard and mis-pruned my young fruit trees.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    With anything short of an effective physical barrier you are gambling.
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Sounds like there is a physical barrier but it got buried under snow in the winter.

    I'd think the smell of soap is something that deer would get used to quite quickly, once they've become habituated to human presence. Very timid deer would avoid it because the smell reminds them of the humans ther fear (most people smell of soap!!), but deer in urban areas which don't fear people won't be bothered.
     
  4. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Sounds like they might even come in for a bath. I thought goats were bad.

    Liz
     
  5. Thean

    Thean Active Member 10 Years

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    When it comes to deer (white tails) not all soaps are the same. Only those made from animal fats will work. Work is relative, there are some who claims it works while it does not work for others. The same with human hair. I belong to the group where none of the above work. I have even tried wolf's urine but it took 10 days for those damn critters to realise that there are no wolf in my area. The only sure method is complete exclusion - a 10 feet high fence. A friend has exceelent results with dogs. He trained them to chase the deer away from his property. Good luck.
    Peace
    Thean
     
  6. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    I totally agree with Thean -- if you're facing a serious deer infestation, NOTHING works but building a deer-proof barrier of some kind. Lesser deterrents might be effective for a little while, but if there are a lot of hungry deer around, they'll just keep coming at you.

    On the other hand, if it's a mild problem involving the occasional browsing deer, then it can't hurt to try some of these folk remedies. Especially those that are cheap (or free). I seem to remember -- though I can't imagine why -- that "Irish Spring" soap was once recommended for this purpose.
     
  7. kinnika

    kinnika Active Member

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    We have the same problem here. In the winter we have all our trees protected by wire around them. In the summer we use a product called Scarecrow and it works fantastic. It hooks up to your garden hose and has an electric eye. When something comes near they get a blast of water. The first time we had it set up we watched, it was hilarious as there was hoofs and tails running every where. Now they literly go around our yard to the neighbours. It is costly about $100.00 but well worth it.
     
  8. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    As far as effective deer repellants go, I've used a 15 foot wire fence, Sonic Repellant (this worked wonderfully on a property I couldn't have possibly fenced - it was over 100 hectares), something similar to the Scarecrow Kinnika describes (I had a friend bodge together a motion sensor and a hose key, worked the same but only cost me $30), and three large dogs.

    Here in Ecuador we have something much smaller than the Mule Deer I'm used to, and they have actually crawled under barbed wire fencing to get at my hibiscus and mulberry plants. They were scared of my housecat, though.
     
  9. bedixon

    bedixon Active Member

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    We have plenty of deer on Salt Spring Island, on our property they wander around sampling anything they can get close to. The bigger concern is when they rub on the trunks, which can be fatal to a small tree. So we cage the smaller trees individually, putting a few tall rebar stakes in the ground that anchor the wire fencing about 4 feet high.
    I have heard of a product called Plantskyyd that apparently works well, perhaps only on certain plants, I'm not sure; it has pig's blood in it. If you spray it on the new growth and hope it doesn't rain for 24 hours, it will last up to 6 months (sounds too good to be true if you ask me, but people say it works). Me, I have an aversion to using something with blood in it. We think fencing is the only sure way and fence in areas we want them to stay out of, like the veg garden. They're free to roam the rest of the place, they've got to eat somewhere.
     
  10. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I am informed by my dog lists that Livestock (not herding) guardian dogs do a perfect job for any critter that does not belong deer included. I use them here for foxes.
    http://www.lgd.org/
    Liz
     
  11. zoe l

    zoe l Member

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    Irish Spring soap works well as to deer, it's quite stinky. I've had success with it, and with Bounce dryer fabric, cut into strips and tied onto branches like bows. Those can be really useful to protect a small rugosa until it gets a bit spikier, or a clematis until it's bigger. But with something like a fruit tree, which deer like, in my experience, you're always going to have to protect the plant. A physical barrier starts to seem less work after a while. Here in the Gulf Islands in BC, where the deer are a huge pest, I see people cage their fruit trees until they're big enough get their bottom branches five feet from the ground.

    The dryer strips lose effectiveness after a month or two. Soap lasts longer but it's you need a fair number of bars to get coverage, so to speak.
     
  12. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Wouldn't a livestock guardian dog recognise that deer are more akin to livestock than to livestock predators, and therefore try to round them up and guard them?
     
  13. zoe l

    zoe l Member

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    I love the idea of the Sonic Repeller--looked it up and found a couple online. I see they have a limited field of usefulness, one was something like 33 feet by 100. Did you mount 100 of them? Use only around garden beds you particularly like?
     
  14. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Re LGD (Livestock guardian dogs) No they won't if you make it quiet clear during training these are to be kept off their patch. On the other hand it is important that they are bonded to what ever they do guard and that includes garden and family if they are a companion animals. These dogs have very low prey drive and are into removing things vocaly and by rushing and snapping. However if it is a dog, Cyote (sp) bear etc they will attack if their bonded charge is under attack. They are not come here roll over fetch dogs so can't be treated like Rover but more like a working partner. They are extremly independant and self thinkers so the initial education phase and socialization is very important. We had a case yesterday of the Italian version (Maremma) removing a kangaroo that was grazing in the wrong place. Did not hurt it just told it to get back over the fence.

    Liz
     
  15. kinnika

    kinnika Active Member

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    Zoe1 We put 2 of them in the yard and we have just over an acre of land. All I might add is untilized by either flower beds or garden. One is facing our apple and pear and plum trees. This is by the driveway and that is where they would come in. The other is by the garden. The trick we discovered is to find out where they are entering the yard and put it there regardless of the plants. There is lots of open yard in the middle of the 2 of them but the deer aren't taking any chances. They got a blast once and they don't even come near the yard. They litterly walk on the road around the yard to get to the neighbours. Really quite funny.( the neighbour dosen't think so )
    BEDIXON- yes we do have the same problem at the rut time with them rubbing on the trees. We make very sure some of our trees that they have used before are well protected with wire.
    We tried all of the above ideas and yes they worked for awhile but the deer got use to the smell or sound ( Tinfoil Plates hanging in trees). The Scarecrow is the best we have used and will continue to use.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2010
  16. zoe l

    zoe l Member

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    Kinnika, I love the idea of the Scarecrow. I've never gardened in a place which is as deer-infested as this. I will watch to see where they come in now. Two would do my lot as well.

    Thanks so much on this!
     

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