These past two weeks I have been keeping an eye on a young buck who seems to be perusing my neighborhood. He is a beautiful specimen and his antlers are in velvet, even though he only has 3 points at this stage of his life. Anyone who gardens knows that despite the gentle appearance and the coolness of having a deer so close to home, deer are a nuisance in the garden and are difficult to keep out.
So what do I do to safely and effectively protect my corn that I just know he has been eying? There are many different things that you can do, although some are definitely more effective than others.
I found this great article by Kathy Bond Borie that I thought you might enjoy. Her article is appearing on the National Gardening Association Website of which I am a member. Here is some of what she had to say on the subject:
Even if you don’t see deer browsing through ornamental and edible gardens, you’ll know they’ve been there by their calling cards — hoof prints and chewed plants. In many regions deer are growing bolder and less fearful of humans, meaning even gardens in urban areas are vulnerable.
A Fencing Strategy
The only surefire way to keep deer out of gardens is fencing them out. And it can’t be just any fence. A gardening friend of mine was so frustrated by deer chomping on his apple trees that he put up a 7-foot-high electric fence. The deer jumped it. He put a second fence right next to the electric fence. The deer jumped both. He installed a third, 3-foot-high fence a couple of feet away from the second one, and the deer finally gave up. They now travel next to his orchard instead of through it. Apparently deer are intimidated about jumping when they cannot tell how much distance they have to clear. The three parallel fences kept the deer from sighting a clear landing spot.
For the same reason, deer are apt to be skittish about jumping a fence over a long, narrow garden. The two long sides appear too close together for the deer to see a place to land. Installing a fence at a slant so it leans outward from the garden can also work because it makes the fence appear wider.
A 5-foot-high fence can keep deer out if you use taller posts and attach strands of wire at intervals, such as at 6 feet and 7 feet. In extreme cases, you may need to erect a second fence, say a 3-foot-high one, about 3 feet outside of your other fence. Even a barrier made of fishing line attached to posts at a height of 3 to 4 feet is sometimes enough to startle a deer into changing its course. Of course this is dangerous if you have children and pets.
Since deer are creatures of habit, the sooner you can deter their foraging, the better. Baiting an electric fence with peanut butter can train deer to stay out of an area. Tree guards that wrap around the trunks are a must in winter, and I encircle young fruit trees with fencing for the first few years so deer can’t reach the branches. Covering shrubs in early spring with fabric row covers can deter feeding long enough for wild food plants to become available. ~ Kathy Bond Borie
To finish reading her great article, you will want to visit her here. There is a lot of great advice on how to keep deer out of your garden.
Do you have trouble with deer in your garden? What do you do to control the situation? Leave me a comment and share.
Photo provided by marykbaird