3 Things That Don’t Work (Reliably) as Deer Repellent

Fine Gardening - Issue 190
A Columbian black-tailed deer. This buck managed to get into the backyard just in time to enjoy the new buds and flowers of the rose 'Outta the Blue'. Photo: courtesy of May Kald

Are deer munching your favorite plants? Desperate gardeners sometimes resort to desperate measures to ensure that beloved flowers don’t become breakfast for local grazers, but there are some tactics that experience has shown us simply don’t work consistently. These debunked methods are listed below, or learn about some deer-resistant plant combinations that will survive taste tests by Bambi and Co. For more information on how to prevent deer damage, see A Practical Program for Combatting Deer.

Diversity seems to be key to disrupting their fickle taste-testing—which is a great excuse to experiment with the combinations shown here, all of which have survived multiple seasons with less-than-fatal browsing.

Read more in Deer-Resistant Combinations

3 Myths About Repelling Deer

1. Barrier planting will ward off deer from more delectable plants

Deer will gladly reach over low-growing aromatic lavender or sage to reach your prize rose bushes. To be truly effective, barrier plants need to be at least 4 feet high and deep.

Photo: Jennifer Benner

2. Dryer sheets deter deer

These may make your garden smell freshly laundered, but the general consensus is that deer are not bothered by them.

Photo: Steve Aitken

3. Blood meal around plants keeps deer away

The effectiveness is limited, as deer quickly become accustomed to the scent. If used in excess, this may also harm your plants.

Photo: Steve Aitken


More info on protecting plants from deer

Deer-Resistant Combinations

Getting to Know the Enemy

A Practical Program for Combatting Deer

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  1. User avater
    AnnaMartinez 09/30/2019

    Really Good information!

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