How to keep deer from damaging my yard/garden in Pennsylvania | White-tailed deer

How to keep deer from damaging my yard/garden

Since deer eat nearly every conceivable kind of plant, they are bound to be attracted to something in your yard or garden. Here are a few tips to minimize the deer damage in your yard:

Remove attractants

Remove anything (e.g., feeders, mineral blocks) that might attract deer.  If you are feeding other wildlife, stop immediately.

Fence them out

An 8-foot high, high-tensile woven wire fence is very effective for protecting large gardens, a group of fruit trees, and backyards. If you cannot afford this type of fence or it is not practical in your situation, a high-tensile electric fence would be effective and less expensive.

If fencing a larger area is not practical or economically feasible, consider fencing individual trees, smaller landscape plantings, and flower beds. Protect individual trees from deer browsing and antler rubbing with wire cages, plastic tubing, or tree wraps at least six feet high.

Grow plants less preferred by deer

Planting less desirable tree, flower, and garden species can minimize deer browsing. Among ornamentals, plants that are rarely to seldom significantly damaged by deer include boxwood, American holly, several dogwoods, Japanese flowering cherry, and many pine and spruce species. Lilac, jasmine, wax myrtle, century plant, and narcissus are other plants that can be considered.

Harvest early

For gardens, the best solution is to harvest crops as early as possible to reduce damage.

Pick up fallen fruit

Deer love apples and other tree fruits. If you have fruit trees, get rid of the fruit that falls off the tree.

Don’t plant a garden near the woods

Plant your garden as far from wooded areas and deer trails as possible.

Use repellents

Putrescent whole egg solids are the active ingredient in many odor-based deer repellents. Some commercially available products include Deer-Away, Deer-Off, Deer Stopper, and Big Game Repellent. Ammonium soaps (e.g. Hinder) are a product that can be used on edible crops and are applied directly to garden plants, vegetables, and fruit trees. Thiram, a fungicide, can be painted or sprayed on trees and shrubs to deter browsing. Capsaicin is a taste-based, pain-inducing repellent that is registered for use on ornamentals, pine trees and fruit trees.

All repellents are subject to weathering and require reapplication every few weeks or after heavy rains, and they do not protect new plant growth. Follow label instructions for appropriate application.

Let your dog out

Dogs can be an effective deterrent in suburban properties and areas less than 5-10 acres as long as they have free run of the property day and night. Dogs should not be left to run loose without a chain, invisible fence, or traditional fence.

Laws and regulations to be aware of

While we attempt to provide guidance about state and federal regulations pertaining to specific species and control techniques, we do not provide information about local jurisdictions (city, town, county, etc.) where regulations may be more restrictive, especially as it applies to discharge of firearms, transport of animals or use of trapping equipment. Contact your local city or county government to inquire further. No guarantee is made that information (or lack of information) associated with a species or control technique is completely accurate or current. You should become familiar with federal, state and local laws before beginning any wildlife control activities.

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