Those Darn Deer
Nancy is on the warpath to rid her yard of deer.
My morning coffee in the garden was not the usual pleasant little stroll around the yard. Those darn deer have eaten the tops of Eva's magenta impatiens, although they didn't touch my white impatiens.
As I was checking my newly planted chartreuse hosta, I found they dined on one particular variety. Also, the blue hosta flowers had started blooming and now they have been chomped down.
Plus, they ate the girls' Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes. The picky little devils just ate the ripe ones. Yep, I know for sure it was deer because they left several "deposits" in my garden beds.
Around 6:30 am last Saturday morning, I saw a doe in my front yard and yelled "GO AWAY" but she just looked at me. So then I started banging on my upstairs bedroom window, and this finally made her leave.
All of this was AFTER she had feasted on Annabelle hydrangeas for breakfast. All of the blooms and quite a few leaves were gone when I got downstairs. For some unknown reason, she didn't touch the blue mopheads, just my beloved Annabelles.
Please take a gander at my before and after photos. I would say the deer are endangering my property. Now the question: how do I get rid of the deer?
For the past two weeks this frustrated gardener has researched the internet, DNR, local ordinances. and has questioned gardeners on how to banish deer. I read that the most effective deer repellents target a deer's keen sense of taste and smell.
You can find recipes online for homemade deer repellent. Most of them have rotten eggs, garlic, and some type of hot pepper. Most directions tell you to spray it on your plants. Supposedly, deer think this stench is a decaying animal and perceive predators to be nearby, creating a fear for the deer.
So Saturday afternoon Eva, 7, and I decided to make our own concoction of deer repellent which she named "Deer Away." You can see her handwritten recipe in the photos. We decided not to spray it on the tomatoes, but rather made five separate bowls of our nasty concoction and placed them in strategic places in my yard.
I think we made one major mistake...the eggs were not rotten. The next day it looked like Randy, the neighborhood raccoon, ate all the eggs and proceeded to drop the egg shells (which we had left in the bowls) all over the yard.
Please allow me to share with you some suggestions from fellow gardeners which I am trying:
Sandy Sanders from Charlotte, NC, emailed: "Try the mountain remedy for deer that my plumber told me about....Irish Spring soap bars. He drills a hole in each bar, places a string or rope through the hole and hangs it near what the bastards are eating. He swears it works."
I am trying Irish Spring as you can see in the photo of my pear tree. I have not been able to harvest pears for the last 3 years because the deer have eaten all of them. One day I will have a tree full of pears and literally overnight they will all be gone. If it works, I will ship Mr. Sanders a jar of homemade pear preserves.
Eva also had a solution for the pear tree. She suggested that we pick all the pears and take them down to the street so the deer will stay out of my yard.
Howard Cordell from Dublin, GA, emailed regarding our homemade deer repellent: "If it doesn't work as desired-- go to a garden store and buy some bags of Milorganite. Sprinkle all around area desired. It works for us." Okay, I went to Cofer's and purchased Milorganite and spread around my hosta. We shall see.
Claude Bolton, who lives in East Athens said his neighbor uses monofilament fishing line. He stretches it around his garden. I might try this where the deer jump over my fence. Did you know a deer can jump 12 feet high from a standing position?
Janie Bush, next door, uses "Deer Off." But that hasn't kept the deer out of her yard. Tuesday morning, they ate all her butterscotch lilies.
Peter Ray suggested using blood meal and dial soap. He throws those leftover tiny slivers of soap in his beautiful gardens at Belmont Farm. I put blood meal around my veggie garden this afternoon. I have tried human hair clippings from the beauty salon, but when it rains it washes the scent away.
Stuart Cofer of Cofer's Home and Garden suggest Liquid Fence and said it worked at his house.
Terr Kay's advice was: "As to your question about the deer, here's the only sure remedy. Break an egg and beat it well, then mix it well with three or four cups of water. Put it in a spray bottle and spray your plants. Deer won't touch them...unless it rains and washes the egg mix off. When that happens, you re-mix and re-spray."
If any of you have solutions on getting these greedy gluttons away from our plants, please share it in the comments. I will try anything that is legal.
Speaking of legal, advice I received from 2 hunters was "a 22 or a 30 ought 6 would do the job." I am very well aware one cannot shoot a gun in the middle of a Five Points neighborhood. But, I do have Daddy's old bows and arrows tucked away in an upstairs bedroom. Maybe it's time for archery lessons.
One last tip and probably the best: I had the pleasure of meeting Oconee County resident Richard White the other day and found out he is a wildlife removal specialist. Squirrels, snakes, or anything that invades your home or land. He has been known to remove a dead deer that was impaled on a tall fence.
Richard tells me one of the most successful methods is archery. Archery deer hunting season starts in September, but I wonder if I will have any plants left by then? I have jotted down his phone number in my address book...706.202.6696.
For those who read Bambi and don't want to kill these four-legged munchers, will you please sign them up for Debra Lassiter's Perfectly Polished etiquette school? They need to learn some respect for the hard work and love which gardeners put into their plants.