Urban gardeners don’t have to worry much about deer nibbling on their prized roses. However, those of us in more rural or underdeveloped areas are quite familiar with the issue. Deer are lovely to watch but not when they are stomping all over your vegetable garden or eating the tops off of your bulbs before you ever get the chance to see a bloom. Creating a deer resistant garden is a must for any gardener who suffers from these grazing marauders.
Deer Resistant Garden Ideas
There are many borders and chemical deterrents to prevent deer in the landscape. The problem is that what works in one region may not work in another. Much of the reliability on such items depends upon how hungry and how adapted to humans deer are, and even the weather can be a factor. Planting deer-resistant plants may be a better bet than investing in odor, noise, or barrier deterrents. Some of the best tips on how to design a deer-resistant garden are available to you if you read on. Fences seem like a good deterrent to deer, but they have to be at least 8 feet (2 m.) high, or the hungry foragers will simply jump over them. Noisy or flapping items may be useful to scare deer away as are some of the sprays available. These don’t work as well in areas with plenty of rain though. Stinky items have some usefulness. These might include:
Again, the effectiveness diminishes with rainfall. Deer tend to shy away from difficult-to-reach plants. A border made of prickly or spiny plants is a good preventative and gives you a lovely green area to view. Deer resistant garden plans should include:
The animals prefer not to browse on anything that is hairy, thorny, potentially poisonous, or plants with strong, pungent scents.
How to Design a Deer Resistant Garden
Start by considering how much work you wish to put into new plantings. Hedges with thorns not only curb the deer’s browsing but can be painful to keep pruned. Other plants may not be suitable because they need too much water, or your site may not have the correct exposure. Then consult your local master gardener’s or extension office for a list of deer-resistant plants. Deer have regional tastes and what works for one gardener may not work for another. Deer resistant garden plans should complement the existing landscape and enhance the area. The last thing you want is for your garden to look like a green Fort Knox. Creating a deer resistant garden should mesh together defense with beauty. Overall, there are some guidelines for the plants you choose. Trees that are seldom damaged might be:
Shrubs or bushes that might be appropriate could start with:
Snapdragons, cosmos, and marigolds are lovely annual plants that are safe to add to the deer-proof garden. Bulbs are another matter. Deer love the tender new green foliage. If you want to get to the flowering stage, try:
These plants aren’t necessarily foolproof, but if you surround them with a spiny hedge or deeply scented herbs, their chance of survival with those pesky, four legged ruminants will escalate.
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Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.
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