Why Do I Want To Repel Deer?
If you’ve lived in an area where deer are prevalent, you’re sure to already know the answer to this question. But if you aren’t in a deer populated area or have just moved to one for the first time and are asking this question, oh boy, you are in for some fun.
It’s fun to watch that cute little Bambi prancing around behind it’s mother in your own backyard. However, it’s not so fun to walk into your garden, eager to see if those little yellow flowers on your tomato plant have sprouted a tiny green fruit, only to find that the flowers, and half of your plant, have been chomped off by some pest.
While there are other animals that could be the culprit, such as rabbits, voles, groundhogs, squirrels, and even chipmunks, if you have spotted deer in your yard, you can be sure those deer have spotted your plants.
Deer tend to gravitate to ornamental plants and flower gardens, though they don’t discriminate when it comes to your vegetable plants either.
What Types of Deer Repellents Are Available?
There are many types of deterrents available to keep deer out of your yard.
The thing that works the best is a tall fence. And when we say tall, we mean tall. An average sized adult deer can jump nearly eight feet! While a six foot fence that is slanted outward might do the trick since the deer might not be able to accurately judge how high it is and avoid it altogether, if you want to keep them out for sure, eight feet is likely the minimum height to go with.
But not everybody wants or can manage to install an eight foot tall fence around their whole yard. Even if you choose to only put the fencing around your garden, this still leaves the rest of your yard as free reign for deer buffet, and might not be ideal. So what else can you do?
There are lots of old school home remedies for keeping deer away, all the way from slicing up bits of Irish Spring bar soap and spreading it out across your garden, to concoctions like egg and water mixed with cayenne pepper. If you search the web, you’ll find them in abundance.
You can also choose to grow plants that naturally repel deer. There are many of these but some include perennial varieties of salvia, foxglove, lamb’s ear, peonies, and poppies. There are a few herbs that deer don’t care for as well, such as bee balm, rosemary, yarrow and lavender. You shouldn’t rely on these plants to keep deer away all together though. While deer typically don’t care for these types of plants, they will likely just avoid eating them. The plants themselves won’t act as a perimeter for everything else.
Several different repellents are available for purchase in stores. Some types contain garlic and rotten eggs as common active ingredients that can leave a nasty smell.
Others contain urine. Sounds gross right? Well… sure, it’s animal pee. Coyote urine is one that has been praised as an effective way to keep deer at bay.
How Does Coyote Urine Work?
Coyote urine is available in liquid sprays or as granules that you shake over the soil. You can find products that are organic and contain no chemicals so it’s safe for use around pets and kids. It won’t harm the deer, or other animals that might be in the area.
Deer are always on the lookout for predators. When the scent of coyote urine is present, they will detect it right away. And since that urine smell belongs to a known predator, their fear response should keep them from entering. They want to survive and will steer clear of areas they think predators are lurking about.
How Do You Use It?
Experts suggest applying these repellents in the early spring. This is necessary because early in the season, deer have not established their feeding pattern yet and if they learn early on that your yard is one they want to avoid, they’re more likely to stick to that and find other places to graze.
Different products have different applications, and you should always follow the recommended method of use and safety on the product label.
Coyote urine granules typically come in a shaker and can be shaken around the perimeters of your yard, or in areas you want to keep deer away from. They typically need to be applied a couple of times a week the first week or two, and then reapplied twice a month after that for maintenance.
Certain spray forms of coyote urine can be sprayed directly onto foliage you want to keep safe (this would not be recommended with a vegetable garden). Others can be used to create a perimeter or invisible fence if you will to keep deer out of larger areas.
Some sprays can be applied to stakes. These stakes that are saturated with the product can be put into the ground and positioned every 10-12 feet, or more or less depending on the product.
Whether you choose granules or sprays, coyote urine will need to be reapplied if your area receives extremely heavy rain or large amounts of rain. That’s one downside to using the urine as opposed to an actual fence. With all of this being said, make sure to always read ingredients and safety warnings on labels when you purchase in order to apply the product safely and effectively.