Baits and Repellents


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These graceful animals can wreck a garden in no time by nipping off blossoms and nibbling tender leaves and shoots. Fond of many flowering plants, deer also enjoy the foliage and fruit of just about anything you grow for your table. The types of plants most at risk will vary, depending on what the local deer like at the given moment (their tastes often change over time) and how hungry they are. As wild vegetation dries out, the animals spend more time foraging in gardens. They tend to establish trails, feeding mainly at dawn and dusk.

Target: Buds, leaves, and stems of many woody plants; most vegetables and fruits.

Damage: Chewed plant parts have jagged edges. Tree limbs may be gouged where males have used them for antler polishing.

Control: Repellents, environment changes.

Notes: Consult your Cooperative Extension office for a listing of plants unattractive to local deer. Fencing should be at least 8 feet high on level ground, even higher on a slope. As an alternative to a tall fence, try two parallel 4 foot high fences spaced 5 feet apart. Wire mesh is the fencing material of choice, since deer can maneuver through 12 inch gaps between boards or wire strands. If fencing the entire garden isn’t practical, you can set up barriers around individual plants or beds.
Rotating repellents helps to prevent acclamation to any one type.