Deer are a common problem for many gardeners. They can decimate a carefully cultivated garden in no time, eating everything from delicate flowers to mature vegetables.
While deer fencing is the best long-term solution, there are also some deer repellents that can help keep them out of your beautiful garden in the short term.
First steps of protecting your garden from deer
Before using any deer repellents, there are a few things you can do to keep deer away from your garden in the first place!
To best do that, you should learn all about what attracts deer to your property and how to best avoid attracting them to your home to start with.
What attracts deer to my garden?
Deer proofing your garden can prove to be quite a challenge!
Before you begin, remember that there are no 100% guarantees with wildlife.
The main goal of deer-proofing your garden is to make it as unattractive to them as possible.
Some people opt to plant deer-resistant flowers only or focus on plants that deer do not favor to prevent attracting them.
But as with other methods of deer-proofing your property, there are still deer that will eat these plants if they are desperate or very hungry deer around.
Hungry deer will eat any flower or plant they come across. Also, there is always that one deer that develops a taste for a plant for some reason or another.
Just remember that poisonous plants are also toxic for other wild animals, children, and pets like cats, dogs, and horses together! You might want to skip on those.
Plants that deer love eating
Among the popular plants that deer mostly avoid eating are:
- Strong scented flowers and plants like lavender, sage, allium or catnip(nepeta cataria), irises, peonies, and camellias
- Prickly, fuzzy, or thorny plants like spirea or Lamb’s ear
Talk to your neighbors and share your experiences! Most people are glad to help you by sharing what plants the deer in your area love or avoid and what deters them from the garden!
Plants and flowers that most deer love eating should best be avoided! Among them are(among others)roses, fruits, most edible vegetables, fresh growth of any plants, soft foliage, cosmos, crocus, snowdrops, gerbera, sunflowers, pansies, violets, dahlia, tulips, hydrangeas, and many more!
What natural remedies are there against deer?
Deer hate strong smells, loud noises, and outdoor dogs for the most part. That being said, deer tend to get used to things if they do not pose a real danger to them. Unfortunately, some deer will not even move when you clap your hands in front of them.
Some people have results with the usage of homemade deer repellent or homemade sprays with mostly only natural ingredients like blood meal, predator urine, rotten eggs, and many more to keep them away from your favorite plants.
You can use an environmentally friendly deer repellent spray with all-natural ingredients on most plants and spray it directly on the areas you want to stop deer browsing in.
It will usually repel not just deer but work as a general animal repellent and works on other garden pests, too.
Taste deterrents are applied directly to the plants with a spray bottle and are usually environmentally compatible. They are a great addition to your deer-proofing regime and especially useful during the growing season.
Rain, morning dew, and a sprinkler system, as well as motion-activated sprinklers, can wash off most of a liquid deterrent, as many are not rain resistant. So they must be reapplied regularly and whenever needed during the entire season.
How does a deer repellent work?
Deer repellent is the best way to keep deer away from your garden. There are several different types of deer repellent on the market, so it’s important to find one that works well for you.
One popular type of deer repellent is scent-based repellents. These products contain strong scents deer don’t like, such as garlic, peppermint, or capsaicin (the compound found in chili peppers). Scent-based repellents usually need to be reapplied every few days, but they can effectively keep deer away from your garden.
Another type of deer-repellent is taste-based repellents. These products contain bitter compounds that deer find unpleasant, such as thiram or denatonium benzoate. Taste-based repellents are products that you can apply to plants so that when the deer eat them, they taste the repellent and learn to avoid those plants in the future.
There are also physical barriers that you can use to keep deer away from your garden, such as fencing or netting. If you live in an area with a lot of deer, it’s important to take steps to protect your garden so that you can enjoy the fruits (and vegetables!) of your labor.
Visual deterrents like lights, CDs, or tin cans that you can hang into plants for visual distraction or noise effects and motion-activated lights are not that successful by comparison, as the deer quickly realize that they are harmless to them. They can be a great addition to other deer deterrents!
Generally, it is an excellent deer-proofing strategy to combine different deterrents for best results!
What kind of deer repellents choices do I have?
There are two main types of deer repellents: chemical and physical. Chemical deer repellents usually contain either strong smells or bitter tastes that deer find unpleasant. Physical deer repellents create a physical barrier that deer cannot cross.
What are chemical deer repellents?
Some effective chemical deer repellents include products containing putrescent egg solids or capsaicin, both of which have strong smells that deer find offensive. Bitter-tasting deer repellents containing predigested fish or predator urine can also be effective.
What are physical deer repellents?
Physical deer repellents include deer fencing and netting. Deer fences around your property should be at least 8 feet tall to deter deer from jumping over them, and the mesh size of the deer netting should be small enough that deer cannot fit through it.
Combining deer repellents
You can also try combining different deer repellents to keep deer out of your garden. For example, you might use a physical deer fence around the perimeter of your vegetable garden or fruit trees, with chemical deer repellents inside the fence line to further deter deer from entering.
Best commercial deer repellents
We have compiled a list of the best commercial deer repellents for you here!
Should you decide to purchase through the links, we receive a small commission as Amazon Affiliates.
I Must Garden Deer Repellent: Spice Scent Deer Spray for Gardens & Plants
- TRUSTED BY PROFESSIONALS – For over 15 years, I Must Garden has been the preferred brand of professional gardeners for use in public gardens and resorts. Trusted for its reliability, durability, and pleasant spice scent.
- NATURALLY STRONGER – Combines natural ingredients that make plants inedible to deer AND powerful botanical oils that are highly irritating to their sense of smell. It contains more active ingredients than other repellents for ultimate plant protection.
- SAFE FOR PLANTS – Safe to spray directly on any plants that deer are damaging. Perfect for protecting Perennials (hostas, daylilies, roses, tulips, oriental lilies), Annuals (pansies, impatiens), Shrubs (roses, azaleas, rhododendron, hawthorn), and Vegetables
- FORMULATED TO LAST LONGER – This contains potent natural sticking agents that make the repellent adhere to the leaves of your plant. Provides long-lasting protection.
- SAFE FOR PETS & POLLINATORS – Made from natural ingredients and botanical oils that are safe for pets, people, and the environment. Contains NO harmful chemicals or glues that threaten nearby wildlife
Bobbex Concentrated Deer Repellent Deer, Elk, and Moose Deterrent Concentrate
- NATURAL INGREDIENTS – Bobbex is environmentally friendly, using only natural ingredients that stop deer browsing by using multiple smell and taste deterrents. This animal repellent will keep deer, elk, and moose out of your garden or yard.
- EASY TO APPLY – Apply the spray directly on the surface of foliage to repel deer. This product is a concentrate, so you must dilute it in water before use.
- HARMLESS TO WILDLIFE – When used as directed, this liquid deterrent is environmentally compatible. It is also harmless to all wildlife, including humans, your dog or cat, birds, and aquatic life.
- SAFE FOR USE ON MOST PLANTS
Deer Out 32oz Concentrate Deer Repellent
- Over 100,000 Repeat Customers – For over 20 years, Deer Out has been the trusted brand for professional gardeners, landscapers, and farmers alike. Works Great!
- Minty Fresh Scent – Smells Great to Humans, but Deer, Elk, and Moose are naturally repelled.
- Won’t Wash Off – Two Natural Stickers Keeps Deer Out on your plants! Deer Out is Rain resistant.
- All Natural ingredients – Deer Out is environmentally friendly, using only natural ingredients. Safe for use around children and pets.
- 100% Money back guarantee
Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler with Day & Night Detection Modes
- HUMANELY DETERS ANIMALS AND PESTS: Keeps animals out of plants, yards, and gardens using a harmless spray of water
- UNIQUE DAY AND NIGHT DETECTION: The only deterrent sprinkler on the market with options for the day only, night only, or 24-hour protection
Careland AR33 Solar Animal Repellent Device
- Deter unwanted pests away from the garden by emitting various ultrasonic frequencies and Flashing lights. Repels deers, and cats. Rabbits, dogs, raccoons, skunks, rats, mice, armadillos, wild pigs, bears, foxes, squirrels, and more!
- Motion Activated Sensor is only activated when the targeted pest enters the range set by the user. After activation, triggering the PIR sensor and emitting ultrasound and Flashing lights to drive animals away. This stops the pest from establishing a pattern, deterring them from your garden for good.
We hope the information provided in the article helps you with your deer problem! Do you have any tips for keeping deer away from your garden? Please share them in the comments below!