Note: We researched, wrote and published this article to our Facebook page last August and, unfortunately, it remains very current. Our most recent update was on 7/17/2015.
season's not completely over but, judging from the score: Deer-30 and
Gardeners-2, we got creamed again this year. Depending on your point of view, this has
been one of the best (Bambi's view) or the worst (the rest of us) seasons for
deer damage ever.
Most disappointing is that many plants long considered deer-resistant disappeared
like king crab legs at a Red Lobster
early-bird special. Even worse, for every 100 people on-line who swear that
hanging bars of Irish Spring soap in your garden will end your deer problem,
there’s another 100 who say, "It doesn’t work".
other day my barber told me about one of his clients who used to come in a few
times a month to pick up human hair
for spreading around his garden (another popular solution on the web). His
client swore it was the best thing to keep the deer away but my barber hadn’t
seen him in a long time. I guessed he had moved to another area or moved on to
another solution because a frequent comment on the deer-proofing websites is
that the cute critters figure it all out sooner or later and just avoid those
“treated parts” of the garden or get used to our clever deterrents (One woman’s
engineer husband built motion detecting
robots that flapped appendages and made noise when the deer came into her
garden at night…it worked…for a while). Another approach that has been gaining
popularity is spreading
around the garden. It's a product left over from treating human waste...sounds
awful but click on the word and you may become a believer. (We have Milorganite
at the store). My favorite is the recommendation to
crisscross fishing line around the vegetable garden like restaurants do at the
beach above their outdoor patios to keep the gulls away. I envision myself among
the tomato plants,
entangled in nearly invisible fish line and going down harder than Don Corleone
did in his tomato garden in "The
Godfather". (Note: a link to that NC State paper is below.)
The situation has long passed when gardeners enjoyed watching the does and fawns move through their yards. Now they come like locusts, big locusts, and the trade off, in order to have that up-close and personal Nature experience is the loss of our flowers and vegetables.
The solution, if there is one, will be when we realize there is no one solution. So, to be effective we must rotate our defenses because the deer quickly learn to ignore everything but the food. If bars of soap and human hair work for a while...fine, but it appears that to maintain effectiveness we have to keep rotating these various solutions in and out of our landscapes. At some point we're going to realize that we can’t keep planting the deer’s favorite food. However, that being said, even NCSU admits in the introduction to its paper on “Deer Resistant Plants” that "deer will eat anything when hungry and just about everything in the spring when plants are young and tender".
(Note: a link to that NC State paper is below.)
PS: As stated before this page was last updated 7/17/2015 and we have some
more information on a
deer repellent that we have had success with here at AF&GC. Although most deer
remedies have homeowners and gardeners on both sides of how effective the
remedies are, we have had a very high rate of satisfaction with Sweeney's Deer
Repellent. We offer other repellents, also, but this one seems to have proven quite
Meanwhile, like every year, here at Aberdeen Florist and Garden center we’re giving more thought to our list of “Seldom Damaged Plants” for the coming season (although we already offer many of the Annuals and Perennials recommended by NC State).
NCSU: Deer-resistant Plants for Southeastern NC
On Saturday September 26, 2015 The Village of Pinehurst will host a
workshop on deer proofing your yards and gardens. It will be held at Assembly
Hall located at
Magnolia Rd in Pinehurst. The workshop will run from 10:30 am to 12 noon and
feature speakers from the Extension service, Master Gardeners Program and deer
repellant reps. A booklet on deer proofing will be given out at the workshop. If
you can't wait, we have that booklet available at AF&GC right now.
In the mean time, we would love your input. What plants are you losing? Which ones do the deer avoid? What techniques have you tried that have worked and which ones didn’t.?
You can let us know the next time you’re in or email us at AberdeenFloristGarden@Gmail.com.