Keep ‘em out…deer-pica
Deer.  That one word triggers many negative emotions for avid gardeners and homeowners.  With some help from our friends at This Old House, we’ve provided you with this list of helpful tips to help keep those pesky deer away from your plush gardens and landscapes this year.  When considering your options, it’s key to remember that their sense of smell trumps all other senses.

1) Don’t make it easy for them.  If you tempt the deer with large amounts of tasty, high-protein plants such as English ivy, lettuces, beans, peas, hostas, impatiens, pansies, and fruit trees, they’ll love hanging out in your yard.

2) Keep their favorites such as chrysanthemum, clematis, roses, azalea bushes, and various berries, closer to the house so you can keep tabs on their progress.

3) Consider planting strongly scented herbs – from garlic and chives to mint and lavender — to mask the scents of the annuals they love to feast on.

4) Plant some thorny, hairy, or prickly foliage near the plants you want to protect most.

5) If you’re open to it, try making deer-resistant substitutes, like trading tulips for daffodils.

6) If they can’t see it, they may not be as tempted; so plant sprawling deer repellent varieties such as thick hedges of boxwoods or short needle spruces around your garden.

7) Keep it clean; trim tall grasses to deter bedding and pick your ripe fruits.

8) Step it up; deer don’t like to climb so consider adding terraces or sunken beds which may discourage them from coming into the yard.

9) Boo!  Yes, scare tactics work.  Deer fear new, unfamiliar objects so place garden ornaments, such as a scarecrow or sundial, in combination with wind chimes or bright lights in your garden.

10) Adding a fence is a great option as long as it’s 8-feet high – Bambi can jump!

11) Wrap ‘em up by placing netting over fruit, bulbs, and bushes.

12) Rotate deer repellents throughout the growing season.  Spray them starting from the ground and extending up six feet.   Products to consider include Havahart’s Deer Away Big Game Repellent, Deer Off, and Hinder.

13) Sometimes simple home remedies work best.  Homeowners have tried hanging fabric softener sheets or bars of soap from trees or spread rotten egg mixtures around the perimeter.  The key: mix it up until you find the right combination.

14) As annoying as deer can be, NEVER use poisons.

15) Can’t afford a fence; try stringing fishing line around your beds within the deer feeding zone – two to three feet above ground – which confuses them.

16) Don’t have a dog?  Get one.  Their scent and bark are natural deer repellents.

17) Kids love them; deer hate them.   Strategically place motion-activated sprinklers in your yard.  Kids will have lots of fun this summer but deer will be sent running.

18) Deer tend to feast at night because they don’t like bright lights, so install a motion-sensitive flood light.

19) Loud booms and bangs work, but who has time to set off firecrackers every time Bambi appears.  Set a radio to the static between the stations and turn it up.

20) Fill your entire yard with rocks.  (Kidding.  Although some of you have probably considered it after the deer ate everything.)  Double or triple-up on the tips.  Just one of these options won’t do the trick.  A combination of these should begin to deter the deer.

Good luck.  

Invite ‘em in…
There are a number of people who wish to encourage deer to hang out in their yard for either viewing or hunting purposes.   Simply put, do not follow any of the aforementioned tips to keep deer out.   However, there are additional things you can do to invite them in.

1) Plant a food plot full of forage species that are specifically planted for the deer to graze upon.   Consult the internet for a wide array of high-protein crops you can plant.  Try and avoid planting too close to roads, as this will scare the animals.

2) Typically, deer lures are used by hunters during the mating or hunting seasons, but they can also be used by homeowners who simply enjoy watching deer.  Usually, the lures consist of a variety of scents, including urine, pheromones, and/or foods.

3) Deer can’t resist the smell of apples.  Consider planting apple or crab apple trees along the perimeter of your yard.  You can also cut apples in quarters, cores included, and place in a bucket to help draw them onto your property.

4) Place a salt or mineral block on the edge of your property.

5) Try and keep your yard as open and free from obstacles as possible, to allow greater access for the deer.  Also, taller grass is optimal for deer, as it provides a place for them to take cover and offers a food source.