Written by Anza Goodbar (last updated February 17, 2012)
Deer have ravenous appetites and can destroy a garden or landscaping in a short amount of time. It is not cost effective for most home owners to build a fence to keep deer out of the yard. Deer have the capability to jump as high as eight feet, so other deterrents tend to be more cost effective.
There are many different types of deer repellents. Some experts suggest using urine from their natural predators like coyotes or humans. They claim that the fear of their scent will keep them away. Other experts counter that deer will become accustomed to the scent and overcome their fear and return.
Deer are also frightened by the scent of blood. Bloodmeal can be an effective way of removing deer from your garden or lawn. It can be purchased and sprinkled around the perimeter of a flower or vegetable garden. The scent is undetectable by humans, but the smell of blood is not one that deer become accustomed to. The blood will also add nitrogen to the soil, which acts as an excellent fertilizer to help plants grow.
Taste is probably the greatest deterrent. Chives are a long green plant similar to a green onion. It also smells like an onion and that tends to keep the deer away. Anise Hyssop has a purple to bluish flower, and the Japanese painted fern, a shrub with purple silver and lavender leaves, deer rarely eat these, use as a border flower or a centerpiece to keep the deer away. Deer also dislike the Lamb's ear with its fuzzy leaves. These are all natural deterrents that will reduce the amount of deer in your gardens.
Deer do not like hot and spicy food. Applying hot pepper oil to a food grade wax to coat the leaves of plants will make the deer think twice before coming back for seconds; couple that with coyote urine and you give them a double whammy. The wax coating will stick to leaves longer and not need to be reapplied as often. They most definitely will not stick around when their nose and taste buds are assaulted simultaneously.
Keep in mind the more senses you can use to repel deer from your yard the more effective the repellent will be. Using repellents that hit their sight, taste and smell will be the most effective. Consider a scarecrow in the garden with human hair stuffing to assault their fear.
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