How-to Create a Deer Resistant Garden

If you live in deer habitat and like to garden, you know that plants and deer don’t co-exist, at least not easily. You’ve probably walked out to your garden to snip some flowers or harvest vegetables for the dinner table only to find them gone. How can you protect your plants from being devoured by deer? There are four main prevention strategies:

1. Fencing
2. Scare tactics
3. Scent repellents
4. Plant selection

Fencing is fairly effective, but only if you build your fence at least 8 feet tall. Anything shorter and deer can jump it. Also, you’ll need to use material such as wire mesh, which doesn’t block the sun, and this isn’t particularly attractive. Another aspect to consider is cost. If your garden is large, fencing materials could easily run you several hundreds of dollars, if not more.

Margaret Roach, of Martha Stewart Living, suggests a different type of fence–two parallel fences, each about four feet tall and about four feet apart. Apparently, the deer can’t jump high and broad at the same time, so this type of fencing deters them. Again, however, you will need to take cost and your own personal accessibility into consideration.

Scare tactics, such as noise, and scent repellents, such as human hair or urine, are only effective for so long. Deer acclimate to their surroundings, rain washes away scent, and you’re back to square one. Besides, do you really want to visit your garden under these circumstances?

The better way to ward off deer is through plant selection. There are dozens of plants that deer are naturally repelled by. The list includes annuals, perennials, bulbs, trees, shrubs, vines, ground covers, herbs, and other crops. Did you know, for example, that deer don’t like dahlia, sweet basil, thorn apples, lavender, lupine, mint, butterfly bush, rhubarb, or shasta daisies? Or bleeding heart, sage, rosemary, and fern? For more ideas, check out this list compiled by Cornell University scientists, or these 22 plants featured in a Popular Mechanics article. Shop the Deer-Resistant Nursery catalog for even more ideas, and to check what plant zone you live in. With the options available, you’ll have a deer resistant garden in no time.

Deer Resistant Plants catalog

Read: “How to Stop Deer From Eating Your Garden (With 22 Plant Ideas!)” from Popular Mechanics

“Deer-Proofing Your Garden” from HGTV