Tips to Protect Your Garden From Hungry Deer

By Colin Bergen and Nicky Sensale

With fall in just two weeks, the deer are on the hunt for garden greens. To help the community prepare, Big Canoe resident Nicky Sensale, a landscape designer and a wildlife advocate, shared some tips for how you can protect your garden from our cervine neighbors:

When designing a woodland garden, it’s important to first consider your site condition. Then choose your plant material. One very important consideration is exposure to deer. Usually, plants that have rigid leaves, such as a holly bush, or that are fragrant – think rosemary – deter deer. Planting this kind of plant in front of or around your garden can be helpful to prevent hungry deer from browsing your garden.
Keep in mind that deer are seeking nitrogen as their bodies do not maintain it. This is why you will see random bite marks throughout the garden. Even if you plant something that deer normally shy away from, if the plant material is newly installed plant material straight from the nursery, bets are good that the plant is loaded with fertilizer, which contains nitrogen. This makes for deer candy!
I spray regularly with a product Deer Out. You will need to spray every of couple weeks, and more often if it’s rainy. I also suggest Replelex, in granule or tablet form. Replelex is systemic. It is taken up by the plant, therefore, making it taste bad to deer. Spreading morganite around the base in a wide circle also creates an offensive smell that deters deer.
One of my favorite defense mechanisms is the Orbit Yard Enforcer. It is a motion-activated water gun attached to a hose. The sound also startles the deer to run away.

Thanks for the advice, Nicky!

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