Deer damage in home landscapes is a vexing problem, and no single strategy promises perfect control. Here are some things to try:
- Deer- resistant plants – Landscape with deer-resistant plants and shrubs. A list is available at https://njaes.rutgers.edu/deer-resistant-plants/
- Repellents – Repellents are effective but must be applied regularly and after heavy rain. There are basically two kinds—awful smelling and not awful smelling. To make very smelly homemade repellent mix rotten eggs, garlic and hot pepper. Two deer repellents that are not awful smelling are Deer Out® and Deer Stopper®. You can also contract with a commercial deer-control company.
- Milorganite – This slow-release organic nitrogen fertilizer can deter deer when sprinkled around plants and shrubs every few weeks.
- Netting – Enclose plants or shrubs by wrapping netting around poles, the bushes themselves or contiguous trees. You can also lay netting over individual plants. You may have to remove and reapply the netting occasionally so that it doesn’t get too entangled in new growth or inhibit growth. Home Depot has black plastic deer and bird netting, which works very well and is lighter and more pliable than the netting used in the arboretum.
- Dogs – Let your dog spend time in your yard.
- Fencing – This is the most effective way to keep deer from ravishing your plantings. A fence must be at least 8 feet tall to keep deer out.