Deer proof planting myth busted

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Corinna, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. Corinna

    Corinna Member

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    I have often read that you can protect a plant if it is surrounded by scented plants the deer avoid. Here are deer eating oriental poppies in a bed of english lavendar. They will wade through anything to get what they want, no smell seems to detract them here.
     

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  2. that dee girl

    that dee girl Member

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    I laughed when I saw this!
    I think the only thing that will deter the deer is a fence. People complained that my fence is ugly, but I have a nice garden.
     
  3. Corinna

    Corinna Member

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    This year they've eaten my Hotei Rhodo, 2 long hedges of Ceanothas, a boxwood hedge and my poppies. The poppy foliage had stayed green all winter and become very lush. They are an amazing site in bloom. *sigh*
     
  4. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I'm suprised they are not pointing their feet to the sky after the Rhodo. Nearly proved fatal to one of my goats and they have similar habits of munching. A hot wire on a rickety fence will also work or of course just on fiberglass rods. Usually one bite from a fence will be enough or it certainly is for all animals I have had dealings with. Donkeys, cows, alpaca, sheep, goats,horses and my shapeshifting livestock guardian dogs

    Liz
     
  5. smilingbluedog

    smilingbluedog Member

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    Cute picture Corinna!
    And in broad daylight, no less! but it does say
    alot about the English Lavender! They're not touching it!
    I'm out in the Kootenays, BC and we have plenty of deer too.
    They've recently munched down my irises, and nibbled most of
    the new shoots on my sad little magnolia!
    But on a brighter note, they did a lovely job of shaping my
    Rose of Sharon! ( They prefer the flowers).
    Most of my "special" flowers have been moved into our
    dog's pen. Good thing it's a fair size.
    Anything I plant outside of his pen, is considered "sacrifice-able",
    or in the hope that the deer won't like them.
    A friend of mine suggested that I use Irish Spring soap shavings,
    scattered in the garden It's supposedly harmless but effective...
    and I forgot to pick some up when I did the groceries today...UGH!
    Have a great day folks! & good luck with the deer-thing...
     
  6. norma

    norma Member

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    How about this one, the deer ate the heads off the trilliums. Now thats going too far, do you know how many years it takes to have them flower let alone reproduce.
    Disgusted in the Comox Valley!
     
  7. Corinna

    Corinna Member

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    smilingbluedog, you have an apt moniker! Your dog probably has the nicest 'yard' ever!

    Norma, this year it seems that the deer in my area are tasting everything.

    Late last summer we had a real scare. We planted a double row of Cyprus Leylandii at the edge of our yard and a doe was out there munching it! We shooed her away and went to investigate, turned out she was eating the weeds that had grown tall in the middle of the row. Helpful girl. She came back within an hour and we left her to it.

    There are so many deer now though I wonder how it can continue the way it's been going. We keep encroaching on their feeding areas and they keep having twins! I drive past dozens of deer groups just going to the store, at mid day.
     
  8. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    So hibiscus flower-munching is not unique to the minideer we have here. My poor double-reds....
     
  9. smilingbluedog

    smilingbluedog Member

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    Lorax... too bad about your hibiscus
    and Norma's trilliums too (aren't they toxic?)!
    The deer don't seem to be very fussy, a friend of mine had 4 cedars in planters (about 2-3ft tall). Now she's got 4 sticks left!
    I've noticed they haven't touched my flowering dogwood, rhodo, primroses, wisteria, and hydrengaes. (or is it just a matter of time?)
    I still haven't bought the Irish Spring- I guess it has to be the original scent too..
    there's always tomorrow.
    In the meantime, I've hung some old cd's & dvd's in my magnolias. I'm hoping the shiney, moving or flashing might deter the deer a bit. (My husband is starting to wonder about me...?)
    I'm still pretty new to the gardening thing, and deer are a new challenge for me.
    Any advice is welcome!
     
  10. smilingbluedog

    smilingbluedog Member

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    Corinna! Maybe that's the trick...have something that they prefer to eat...available.
    Hmm...don't want to attract them, either... I'll have to think about this a bit...
     
  11. Corinna

    Corinna Member

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    Oh no, I didn't mean to suggested that you entice them!

    When we first moved here the back yard had a small veggie/strawberry patch. It was a real eyesore with a sad bit of deer fencing around it. First thing we did was take down the fence. We marvelled at the lovely deer that would come and eat the garden (being new and not so bright city folk). I witnessed an unforgettable moment, a young deer came by one morning and in the afternoon we watched him lead his doe and fawn to the garden to eat. They followed him to a point just outside the yard then he came forward, checked it out, and went back to get them. It was the first time we saw an obvious communication amongst these lovely creatures. It was touching.

    Of course, the hard lesson we learned was that we had invited them here with the garden buffet and now we are stuck with them always coming back looking for more!
     
  12. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The deer will probably just eat them.
     
  13. norma

    norma Member

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    Temporary solution is the spreading of fish compost, no deer footprints, so no munching.
    Also a spray of Fish Fertilizer works too.
     
  14. smilingbluedog

    smilingbluedog Member

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    Norma, thanks, I'll have to try the fish fertilizer, sounds like a win-win kind of solution.
    Corinna... what a special moment! Bittersweet I guess. I used to be a naive city person but 9 years of rural living has taught me some things... especially about attracting wildlife!
    My friends across the lake are new "country folk" and have been putting food out for the deer (their 1st winter there), in spite of my warnings. Yes, they're lovely to watch, but the "couple of deer" have grow into a group of 9 or 10...in a couple of months!
    Michael...do you really think they'd eat them!!??? I don't want to poison them (Who knows what kind of toxic stuff's in cd's & dvd's?)
    My huband recently made a kind of ground-up fish brew. We'll try that, but will have to keep the dog out of it now... :)
     
  15. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Not for fish, or for the marine envronment, it isn't. Ethically, grossly unjustifiable. Do a google search for industrial fishing and the resulting seabird population crashes.

    Probably not, but you never know!
     
  16. norma

    norma Member

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    Micheal F.

    Thank you for the fish fertilizer info. I appreciate knowing that what I buy is not OK, ethically nor environmentally.
    Norma
     
  17. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    "The deer don't seem to be very fussy, a friend of mine had 4 cedars in planters (about 2-3ft tall). Now she's got 4 sticks left!"

    I've noticed they haven't touched my flowering dogwood, rhodo, primroses, wisteria, and hydrengaes. (or is it just a matter of time?)
    Goats cattle and even sheep like the cedar stuff so I would say deer. I think the rest taste a bit disgusting and will probably be safe. Rhodo is definatly poisonous for ruminants. I still think a hotwire on your fence or as a fence would solve your problems.

    Liz
     
  18. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Deer will eat Rhododendrons freely, particularly if they're hungry.
     
  19. SunnyDay

    SunnyDay Member

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    The deer around our property have chewed all the cedar hedging to the point where they've mostly died and we had to pull them out (40 of them!) when we moved in. There's no fence surrounding us yet. All the fruit trees have been nibbled to as high as they can stand.

    I went shopping for plants and asked woman at a local nursery:
    "What will deer not eat?"
    She replied "sticks and rocks" and she was't joking.

    The only guarantee is fencing, at least 7' high. Adult deer can apparently jump 2 metres if they need to. And if you have rabbits, rodents and racoons, you also might consider chicken wire fencing around the bottom of a veggie garden, buried 3"-4" into the ground.
     
  20. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I've never seen damage to rhododendrons from deer here. Those in UK are a different species.
     
  21. Corinna

    Corinna Member

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    We use the fish fertilizer (I had no idea it was so evil, the plants LOVE it), it does not deter the deer. Nothing is stopping these this year!

    My Hotei Rhodo has been safe for 2 years and was nibbled on throughout the winter and spring, poor thing is trying to bloom and it looks so strange! I was hoping that was the only Rhodo they were going for but they've started to nibble at others!
     

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    Last edited: May 8, 2008
  22. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Great! They can sometimes also spoil camellias. All you know for sure is that if they are fenced out you don't have these kinds of surprises.
     
  23. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    There is absolutely no scheme that will work for deer proofing, we tried it all, they even eat plants that are supposed to be poisonous to them. We fenced our entire acreage with deer proof fencing and now the only problem is the rabbits. It's nice to be able to go into a nursery and when they ask the first question they always ask "do you have deer" we can say "nope, none".

    City peopl *are* funny, they move here and do crazy things like stop in the middle of the road to take pictures of them, buy a house, move in and start feeding them off their porch! Give them a decade or so dealing with the ticks and the crap and the complete inability to do any serious gardening or landscaping and they're ready to shoot them on sight just like the rest of us. :)
     
  24. mkk

    mkk Active Member

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    So far all the deer around have not bothered my apple trees(which they love). I have a lot of Rosemary bushes around also. but I heard if you hang bags of human hair from the branches of whatever you are growing, the deer won't eat it. Go to a barber shop and get some of their clippings (they won't have to sweep it up and get rid of it, and it isn't harmful for the environment). I have done it in my apple trees and well, maybe this is working or maybe the strong smell of the Rosemary is.
     
  25. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    I think a lot of the info you see out there like the human hair trick etc comes from back in the days or from places where deer aren't as habituated to humans as they are in places like here where they roam through downtown sometimes.

    When they are truly wild they would tend to be a lot more careful and cautious, when they get fully acclimated to humans and realize they won't be touched at all by anything they get to the point where absolutely nothing scares them at all and a fence is the only solution.
     

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