How to Keep Deer Out of Your Garden: Effective and Safe Methods

After spending all summer tending your flower garden or toiling in your vegetable patch, you might be dismayed to find out that deer have been nibbling at the fruits of your labors. If this is the case, then you probably want to know how to keep deer out of your garden. We’re here to help with some tried and true solutions!

Do you need an effective natural method to deter deer from your backyard, one that doesn’t involve camo-gear and a hunting vest? If so, read on for our top tips to keep your well-tended garden a deer-free zone!

Deer Fencing

Depending on the proximity of your backyard to naturally wooded areas, deer may be looking at your garden like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Small herds usually appear in the wee hours of the morning and at dusk. While you’re still asleep, deer could be eating your garden without you even knowing it. By the time you stumble to the kitchen for coffee, you’ll be wondering why you spent so much money on plants, only to have deer nibbling nearly every bloom.

Adding a fence to your yard is probably the most obvious solution for keeping four-legged creatures out of your garden. Since a fence creates a clear perimeter around the plants that you want to protect, it will most likely encourage deer to try their luck in your neighbor’s yard instead.

Given the fact that deer are excellent jumpers, any fence that you install will need to be at least 8 feet high. Any lower than this and a deer will easily be able to scale it without much effort. There are several great options for deer fencing that use durable synthetic materials for maximum malleability and strength.

Protective Mesh

Gardeneer By Dalen DX-7 Deer-X Protective Netting 7' x 100', Black - 100055880
  • Secures gardens, protects shrubs, and shields trees and flowers from deer
  • Strong and durable 5/8 Inch mesh provides an easy and affordable alternative to chicken wire
  • Drape around shrubbery, build a vertical fence, or build a slanted fence
  • Safe and humane. Size: 7-Foot x 100-Foot
  • UV inhibitors for long life

Last update on 2019-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

We recommend using deer fencing that comes as a protective netting made from UV-resistant, recycled, polypropylene mesh. It’s available in varying thicknesses from 3/4-inch to 5/8-inch. It’s sturdy enough to surround your garden, but it’s also light enough to drape directly over your plants for added protection.

At 7-feet high, mesh deer fencing typically comes in a large roll of 100-feet long. You will need to attach it to posts or stakes in the ground, which you can purchase separately. It will be highly effective for protecting your vegetables and flowering plants from deer. You can also use it to surround any shrubs, berry bushes, or fruit-bearing trees, as well as evergreens.

To install mesh deer fencing, simply circle the entire area that you wish to enclose with the protective netting. Then, bring the two opposite ends of the mesh fence together so that they overlap by about 6 feet. This overlapping area will essentially form a door that you can peel open when you want to enter your garden.

Fortunately, mesh deer fencing is almost invisible when viewed at a distance. Even up close, it has a relatively transparent appearance, so it won’t unduly obstruct the view of your garden from your back windows or patio. Because the mesh is so fine, it also makes the fence difficult for the deer to see, even when it’s right in front of their nose.

Mesh deer fencing will also work wonders to keep out most small animals like rabbits, possums, skunks, and raccoons, although squirrels could be able to climb over it. You should also be aware that this type of mesh fencing will not keep small birds from pecking at seeded flower heads, such as on sunflowers. By the same token, birds can also end up flying directly into the nearly invisible mesh and get hurt. A simple way to alert birds to the presence of the fence is to attach colorful ribbons or aluminum pie tins along your protective mesh deer fence.

If you already have a part of your yard portioned off for a rectangular vegetable garden, a mesh deer fence can be a quick fix to protect your crops. However, if your flower gardens are less contained and compact, then surrounding them with mesh deer fencing might not be appealing to you. Likewise, if you like to host parties on your patio, or are otherwise concerned that an 8-foot fence (even a nearly invisible one) will be too obtrusive in your yard, then read on for our other solutions to keep deer out of your garden while protecting your plants.

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


Liquid Spray Deer Repellents

Sale
Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent Concentrate, 40-Ounce
  • REPELS DEER AND RABBITS: Deer and rabbits don't have to eat vegetation for the repellent to be effective-they have a natural aversion to the scent.
  • SPRAY ON PLANTS: Use to treat landscaped ornamental gardens, flowers, shrubs, trees and vines.
  • LONG-LASTING, RAIN-RESISTANT: Concentrated liquid formula starts to work immediately.
  • SAFE: Harmless to plants and animals when used and stored as directed.
  • APPLY YEAR-ROUND: No need to rotate with other repellent brands - animals' natural aversion to Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent2 will never diminish.

Last update on 2019-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

In addition to physical barriers such as mesh fencing to protect your garden against deer, there are also natural liquid spray repellents that work wonders.

Liquid Fence is a well-recognized brand that features a pungent aroma to keep deer away. Like other liquid spray-based repellents, Liquid Fence is rain-resistant, although some users find that liquid spray repellents can lose their efficiency when applied on plants that are exposed to considerably wet weather. If you are using a liquid spray repellent to keep deer out of your garden, we recommend spraying your plants every week for about a month, and then continuing to spray them at least once a month thereafter.

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


Granular Repellents: Deer Scram

EPIC Deer Scram Professional Grade 25lbs. Granular Deer Repellent Industry Leader
  • Blood meal - 42%, Garlic - 4%, Red Pepper - 2.8% , Cloves - 1.5%
  • Plots, Garden Beds, Rows of Trees, Shrubs, Flowers or other edibles at risk for deer browsing damage
  • Deer Scram Professional stimulates a strong fear-based response that scares deer by emitting an odor they associate with death.

Last update on 2019-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For a heavier duty choice, deer scram is a granular repellent to keep deer out of your garden. Deer scram’s natural ingredients include blood meal, which deters deer by instigating their innate instinct to avoid any sign of lurking predators.

EPIC Deer Scram Professional Grade Granular Deer Repellent is considered an industry leader for natural deer deterrents. It’s available in granular form in a 25-pound container. EPIC Deer Scram is used by professional landscape managers, golf course maintenance professionals, and others who deal with deer management on a daily basis.

Consider adding deer scram to your potted and in-ground flowering plants, as well as around your vegetables, shrubs, and trees. During extended days of sunlight or heavy rain, you will probably want to reapply additional granular deer scram to your garden, otherwise, it will be washed partly away.

Deer scram is physically harmless to your deer. However, it will trigger a fear-based response that is intended to scare deer from your garden before they have a chance to approach. Just be aware that your domesticated dog may not have the same instinctual reaction. In fact, your dog might even be curious to explore the scent. Also, it’s possible that you could also attract carrion flying overhead if they think that the odor is real.

In addition to blood meal, which typically makes up nearly 50% of the total product, deer scram also contains garlic, cloves, and cayenne pepper flakes. The bottom line when it comes to deer scram is that deer will only have to take a whiff of this stuff before they are quick to move on. After picking up the scent of deer scram, deer will look elsewhere for their next meal.

 Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


Solar-Powered Predator Guards

PREDATORGUARD Solar Powered Predator Deterrent Light Scares Nocturnal Pest Animals Away, Deer Coyote Raccoon Repellent Devices, Chicken Coop Accessories
  • The World's No.1 Best Selling Predator Deterrent Light Is Now Available At Amazon.com
  • Made With the Toughest Industrial Components, Predator Guard Ensures Long Life with No Maintenance Required
  • Repels All Common Predators: Fox, Deer, Wolf, Coyote, Raccoon, Skunk, Bear. Protects: Gardens, Orchards, Vineyards, Ponds, Livestock, Chicken Coops, Trash Bins, Property, Campsites
  • Solar LED Unit Automatically Charges Itself and Turns Itself On At Night and Off in DayLight - Set it Up Once and Your Done! Unlike other products our exclusive alternating flashing pattern ensures animals do not become used to the lights.
  • SATISFACTION GUARANTEE - We stand behind our customers and our products. Try Predator Guard deterrent lights 100% Risk-Free for 30 days. If you are not absolutely DELIGHTED with the results we will refund 100% of your purchase. No questions asked All units come with a 3 Year Warranty against all defects. In the unlikely event that your Predator Guard unit malfunctions, simply return it to us and we'll rush you an immediate replacement unit

Last update on 2019-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The latest technology to keep deer out of your garden includes solar-powered LED predator deterrent lights with repelling ultrasonic sounds. These strong plastic devices can be mounted near your garden and can send out a twin beam of flashing or solid red lights into the darkness. This double beam of red light will look like a pair of eyes, which will scare deer by making them think that nocturnal predators are lurking.

The dual technologies of LED infrared light and ultrasonic sounds are a powerful way to scare off deer, as well as bears, coyotes, owls, and other animals that feed at nighttime. Since these are solar-powered devices, they will need at least 5 to 6 hours of good sunlight in order to work. But once they light up at night, they will be seen by approaching deer from at least a half-mile away.

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


Other Options and DIY Deer Deterrents

Predator Urine

The Pee Mart - Wolf Urine 64 oz Bulk Filler!
  • Wolf Urine 64 oz Bulk Filler
  • The Pee Mart Wolf Urine comes in a 64 fl oz money saving bulk jug!
  • 100% Real Wolf Urine, not watered down or synthetic!
  • Nature's original animal repellent.
  • Wolf Urine is used for Coyote, Moose, Bear, Elk, Mule Deer and Weasel.

Last update on 2019-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Although it’s one of the less well-known options on the market, you can even purchase predator-based urine, such as 100% real wolf urine, which is specifically intended as a deer repellent. Or, you could take matters into your own hands by making your own DIY deer repellent using several of the other natural ingredients that we’ve described above, such as cayenne pepper, garlic, and cloves.

However, mixing these ingredients in large quantities can be both messy and pungent. Is it really worth the hassle?

Instead, we would recommend any of the well-formulated products on the list of our top picks. They designed to make your life easier so that you don’t have to bother mixing your own concoctions. Purchasing a liquid spray or deer scram will actually allow you to spend more time enjoying your garden, and much less time dealing with deer deterrence.

As you might assume, combining options is always a good way to go. Consider using a mesh deer fence, a liquid spray repellent, granular deer scram, predator urines, and an ultrasonic animal deterrent to effectively prevent deer from approaching your plants and attempting to devour them.

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


Plants that Naturally Repel Deer 

Veggie Gardens

For another effective approach to deer deterrence, it can be extremely helpful to know which plants deer like to eat, and which they don’t. For example, when it comes to your vegetable garden, deer particularly enjoy feasting upon:

  • Peas
  • Turnips
  • Kale
  • Corn
  • Alfalfa
  • Soybeans
  • Other high-protein plants.

To ensure a maximum veggie yield, these crops should ideally be guarded by a first line of defense, such as a deer fence.

Flower Gardens

When it comes to flowering plants, deer will especially be drawn to plants such as Clematis, Petunias, Sunflowers, Hydrangea, Impatiens. These colorful flowers are favorites for gardeners and deer alike. Geraniums, Sea Holly, and Candy Lilies are just a few other plants that will attract deer with their bright colors.

Similarly, shrubs such as Serviceberry, Elderberry, and Snowberry will attract them with their tasty fruit. For flowering fruit trees, deer like to nibble on the leaves and flowers of apple, pear, and cherry trees, as well as those of plums and persimmons. Deer will also eat nuts including Pecans, Hickory, Beechnuts, Chestnuts, and Acorns. If your yard is filled with this kind of edible appeal, then be sure to add mesh fencing around any shrubs or trees that you want to protect.

Fortunately, there are also a whole host of plants that deer will naturally avoid, due to scent and toxicity. If you want to keep deer out of your garden, then consider swapping out the plants listed above. Instead, plant:

  • Foxgloves
  • Peonies
  • Poppies
  • Bearded Iris
  • Daffodils

Why do Deer Insist on Infiltrating Your Garden?

Development

Due to overdevelopment in urban and suburban areas causing the destruction of natural habitat, most deer are simply looking for food. For suburban deer populations, the all-you-can-eat buffet in your garden may even seem like the only viable alternative, given the lack of sufficient habitat in developed areas.

Winter

In the wintertime, deer will be especially hungry. During the colder months, they will likely face great difficulties in finding adequate food sources. This will be compounded in climates with heavy snowfall. Also, keep in mind that deer are consistently competing with other animals for food sources.

Add up these intersecting factors, and you can see why deer are drawn to the flowers, plants, and trees in your yard. If a deer is starving in the winter, it will even pull the bark off a tree and eat it.

Overpopulation

At the same time, the overpopulation of deer can also be a major problem for keeping ecosystems in balance. Researchers at the U.S. Forest Service who have studied populations of white-tail deer have found that the deer can cause slow yet cumulative damage to landscapes.

Some scientists believe that certain forested landscapes face as much a threat from deer as they do from climate change, although both factors interrelate. Other studies show a decline in the presence of songbirds, which nest in forest tree canopies, whenever increasing populations of deer are found over-foraging forest plants and trees.

Overall, it can be hard to blame a herd of deer for visiting your garden to look for food. And as you can see, this issue is so much bigger than your backyard!

Wrap Up  

Given the reality of habitat loss and the corresponding lack of adequate forage, it’s no small wonder that deer find their way into your yard. Yet, if you have a beautiful flower garden, a delicious vegetable patch, scrumptious berry bushes, or magnificent fruit trees, it’s understandably a priority to keep deer out.

The next time you find yourself fed up with the fact that deer are feeding on your plants, we suggest that you preemptively counteract them by using any or all of the methods described above. Adding protective mesh deer fencing and regularly applying effective natural repellents should help you keep deer out of your garden for good!