Deer, oh Deer

Keeping deer from eating your garden

After all the work you put into your garden, it can be very frustrating when deer come and eat your plants down to the ground. Even though a hungry deer will eat just about anything, there are some things you can do to protect your garden.

Deer Repellents 

There are two types of deer repellents – those that repel deer by their scent, like Liquid Fence or Milorganite, and those that make plants taste bad to discourage browsing, like hot pepper sprays. These sprays need to be applied about every four weeks and after a heavy rain.


In small areas, fences as low as 4 feet may be effective. Deer often avoid small, enclosed areas. For larger areas, very high fences may be needed, up to 8 feet tall. Shorter fences can also be effective if they are slanted outward at an angle or if double, parallel fences are used.

Other Options

Desperate gardeners will try just about anything to protect their plants. Here are some alternative methods for repelling deer, including some ideas from our facebook “fans”:

  • Plant Marigolds around your garden.
  • Hang deodorant soap from tree branches
  • “They will wander into wood chips but don’t seem to walk through rocks. Fencing is the only thing I’ve really found☹ This year they even went after my rhododendrons” -Jamie S.
  • “The most effective deterrent I have found is Scarecrow. It is both a motion detector and a water sprinkler (shooter).” – Sharon S.

Plants that deer rarely browse


  • Ageratum
  • Snapdragons
  • Wax Begonia
  • Dahlia
  • Polkadot Plant
  • Alyssum
  • Heliotrope
  • Lantana
  • Marigold
  • Zinnia
  • Verbena
  • Dusty Miller
  • Geraniums
  • Cosmos
  • Salvia


  • Achillea (Yarrow)
  • Ajuga
  • Aquilegia (Columbine)
  • Baptisia (False Indigo)
  • Bergenia
  • Coralbells
  • Dicentra (Bleeding Heart)
  • Foxglove
  • Grasses
  • Peony
  • Iris
  • Geranium (Cranesbill)
  • Ferns
  • Liatris (Gayfeather)
  • Lupine
  • Mertensia (Virginia
  • Bluebells)
  • Monarda (Beebalm)
  • Nepeta (Catmint)
  • Poppy
  • Pulmonaria (Lungwort)
  • Salvia (Sage)


  • Allium
  • Daffodil
  • Fritilaria
  • Muscari
  • Shrubs
  • Barberry
  • Forsythia
  • Bittersweet
  • Mugo Pine
  • Lilac
  • Potentilla
  • Cotoneaster
  • Mockorange
  • Spirea
  • Spruce
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