Deer love flowers, and your effort to have summer blooms may go to waste if these animals visit your neighborhood regularly. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to remedy the situation.
Here’s how to keep deer from eating your flower buds:
- Plant deer-resistant plants.
- Hang bar soaps with a strong fragrance around your garden.
- Use deer repellent spray.
- Install motion sensors.
- Place a physical barrier around the flower garden.
- Strategically place odor deterrents in the garden.
- Use noise deterrents to spook the deer.
- Plant deer-deterring trees around your property.
- Scatter human hair as mulch in your garden.
- Mass plant flowers.
- Practice plant blocking.
- Have a tall fence around your property.
- Plant tall shrubs and trees along the fence.
- Plant shrubs outside the fences.
- Build a second fence if the main fence is short.
- Put up a wide rock garden perimeter around your flowers.
- Let your dog out to scare the deer away.
- Maintain your landscape.
In the rest of this post, I’ll discuss the above methods in greater detail so you know exactly what you need to do to protect your flower buds and your property’s aesthetic appeal. Let’s get on with it.
1. Plant Deer Resistant Plants
Once deer discover your garden is host to flowers they enjoy eating, they will do anything to get to them. One way to get them to scamper away is to have plants that deer consider less palatable.
A hungry deer will eat anything, including plants that are considered deer resistant. But given a choice between plants they enjoy eating and those that they do not, deer will always start with what they like.
Characteristics of Plants That Deer Don’t Like
Deer prefer some plants and have a distaste for others. When hungry, the only plants that deer will not eat are those that are poisonous. Before planting poisonous plants, you need to ensure they are safe for pets and humans.
Here are some of the features that deer avoid in plants.
- Prickly foliage.
- Furry leaves.
- Strong scents and tastes.
- Plants with thick sap.
Planting deer-resistant plants gives your favorite flowers or your flower garden a shot at survival.
Here are some of the plants that deer don’t like.
|Poisonous Plants||High Fragrance Plants||Fuzzy or Thorny Plants|
|Bearded Irises||Dusty miller|
|Lily of the valley||Globe thistle|
You may choose to plant deer-resistant plants around those that deer like to act as a deterrent. Alternatively, you can decide only to have deer-resistant plants to keep deer away from your property.
2. Hang Bar Soaps With a Strong Fragrance Around Your Garden
Deer have a strong sense of smell. They avoid anything with a strong scent, both sweet and pungent. You can hang high fragrant soaps close to the flowers you want to protect from the deer. This method is practical when safeguarding a few plants in an area with a small deer population.
Deer will keep away from the soaps because of the fragrance. They will also assume the hanging soaps are predators. Deer moving in large groups may not spook easily, so you need to know the deer population that raids gardens in your area.
When hanging bar soaps in your garden, you should:
- Use one bar of soap per plant you wish to protect.
- Put the bar soap in nylon stockings, a cheesecloth, or mesh bags.
- Tie the bags containing the soap on fence posts, tree branches, or other structures close to the plants.
- Place the soap at least 3 feet (0.91m) from the plants. You also need to ensure they are high enough for animals, such as raccoons, which may be tempted to tear into the bags.
- If you don’t have bags, you can drill a hole in the soap. Tie a string securely, and hang the soap.
An example of a scent that deer dislike is a highly scented tallow-based soap.
You can also cut and scatter Kodiake Irish Spring Soap (available on Amazon.com). Deer detest the smell of this soap, so it is an effective method of keeping these animals from your flowers. However, the soap’s sweet smell may attract some pests and insects. If cutting and scattering the soap isn’t an option due to concerns about pest and insect infestation, you can hang it around your garden.
3. Use Deer Repellent Spray
You can also use commercial repellents to keep deer from your garden. The active ingredient in deer repellents is coyote urine. Deer fear coyotes because they are their greatest predators. Deer repellents with coyote urine give an illusion that coyotes are close, scaring the deer off your garden.
The PREDATORGUARD Deer Repellent (available on Amazon.com) is one of the most effective options for deterring deer from attacking your flowers around the clock. It has 10 packs that come ready to hang near the plants. It also doesn’t have a foul smell, is rain resistant, and lasts a long time.
4. Install Motion Sensors
Deer come to your garden to eat flowers for survival. They also run away from motion sensors to escape supposed predators. When the deer encounter unexpected sounds or movement, the first reaction is to flee potential danger.
When using motion sensors, you need to rotate them to keep the deer from learning the patterns. Once they get used to it, the motion sensors will no longer be effective. The deer will only keep running away if the sounds and movements come from random directions.
You can string old CDs around your garden. The sounds and movements have the same impact as commercial sensors. The only difference is you need to be strategic. Keep changing the position, and add different sounds from time to time.
5. Place a Physical Barrier Around the Flower Garden
Placing a physical barrier around the garden is one of the most effective methods of protecting flower buds from deer. Ensure that you dig part of the gate into the ground to keep the deer from crawling under the boundary.
The gaps should also be too small for deer to squeeze through, and the barrier should be too tall for them to jump over. Deer can easily jump over an 8-foot (2.44m) if there is no obstacle, such as thorny shrubs and angled netting. If you don’t want to have a tall barrier, you can build two short fences 3 feet (0.91m) apart.
Ensure the fence goes around the garden. You may have a gate that you can close and open when getting into the garden.
6. Strategically Place Odor Deterrents in the Garden
Deer use their sense of smell to find food. It also helps them stay away from gardens with smells they dislike. You can use homemade sprays or commercial products with strong odors that deer will avoid.
Let’s look at some of the best homemade odor sprays you can use to keep deer off your garden.
Rotten Egg Spray
Decomposed eggs have a strong smell because they contain sulfur. Fortunately, you don’t need to wait for the eggs to rot before you can use them.
You need the ingredients and instructions in the table below to make the egg spray.
Deer also dislike the smell and taste of pepper, so you can use it to make a home repellent. You can use any type of pepper you have at your disposal to make this spray.
Here’s a table showing the ingredients you’ll need for this type of spray and how to blend them.
7. Use Noise Deterrents To Spook the Deer
Like many other animals, deer will take off if they hear a strange noise. There are several noise deterrents that you can use to protect your flowers from deer. Fortunately, some of the tools you can use are readily available. They include:
- Electric wires.
- Gas or propane explosions.
8. Plant Deer Deterring Trees Around Your Property
You need to make your property as unfavorable as possible for deer. Planting deer-deterring trees adds a layer of protection for your flower buds, especially if you strategically place the trees in the deer’s path before they get to the flowers.
Some of the trees that deer dislike include:
- Colorado Blue Spruce (Zones 2-7).
- White Spruce (Zones 2 – 6).
- Gingko (Zones 3 – 9).
- Red Maple (Zones 3 – 9).
- Dawn Redwood (Zones 3 – 9).
- Black Tupelo (Zones 5 -9).
- American Holly (Zones 5 – 9).
9. Scatter Human Hair Around Your Garden
Deer hate the smell of human hair. You can use it as mulch to retain moisture in your garden or prepare hairballs and hang them around your garden. However, you will need to collect a lot of it to make an impact. You can visit the salons or barber shops in your neighborhood and ask them to collect the hair for you for free or at a small fee.
10. Mass Plant Flowers
When planting flowers, aim to plant as many flowers as possible in your garden and around your home. You can have a mix of flowers that deer like and those they dislike. Having too many flowers gives your garden a fighting chance, such that even if the deer get to your flowers, you will still have some flowers left behind.
11. Practice Plant Bocking
Plant blocking is a landscape design where you plant flowers that deer like and surround them with those that deer dislike. For example, you can plant plenty of Hostas in your garden and surround them with ferns (deer dislike most ferns).
When deer encounter too many hurdles in their quest to find the flowers they enjoy eating, they will move on to other properties and gardens that are not deer-proofed.
12. Have a Tall Fence Around Your Property
Deer cannot go over fences 8 feet (2.44m) tall or higher. Shorter fences may be a deterrent, but hunger can motivate most animals to go above and beyond to get to their food. A fence around your property virtually guarantees the absence of deer on your property.
This video gives tips on how to deer-proof your garden.
13. Plant Tall Shrubs and Trees Along the Fence
If you have a short fence, you can add another layer of protection by planting tall trees and shrubs inside the fence. The trees and shrubs take away the landing site for the deer should they attempt to jump over the fence.
The shrubs and trees also increase the distance that the deer need to jump over. If there is a more accessible garden, the deer will go there instead of attempting to go over your “double” fence.
14. Plant Shrubs Outside the Fences
If your property extends beyond your fence, you can plant some shrubs and bushes outside the fence. When choosing the shrubs to plant, go for deer-friendly shrubs. The point is to keep them from lingering close to your property.
Alternatively, you can plant shrubs that deer eat. This way, they satisfy their hunger outside your property and away from your flowers. Some of the deer-friendly shrubs include:
- Evergreen Azalea (Zone 4 – 8).
- Pinxterbloom Azaleas (Zone 4 – 9).
- Rhododendrons (Zone 4 – 8).
- Yew shrubs (Zone 5 – 10).
- Wintercreeper (Zone 4).
15. Build a Second Fence if the First Fence Is Short
Trees and shrubs take a long time to grow to a height that deters deer, so you might need a temporary solution to protect your flowers as the trees take their sweet time to grow. Building a double fence can be that quick solution. It will work the same way as the trees and shrubs along the fence. The deer will not jump over your fence if a second barrier is too close to the main fence.
16. Put Up a Wide Rock Garden Perimeter Around Your Flowers
Deer avoid rocks, especially if they are irregular in size and shape. Having rocks around your flowers will help to protect them from deer. Strategically place rocks of different sizes and shapes around your garden.
Deer will look for other flat areas to browse for their next meal instead of dealing with your rocky garden. You’ll have succeeded in keeping the deer away while also adding character and texture to your flower garden.
17. Let Your Dog Out To Scare the Deer Away
Dogs are very effective at protecting your flower garden from deer. Allowing your dog to spend some time outdoors may be the best insurance against deer. Not only will the dog’s bark chase off the deer, but you will also be alerted when the deer are on your property.
Note that the dog needs to get close to the deer. If your dog is on a leash, the deer will soon realize that he is all bark and no bite and learn to ignore him.
If you don’t want him to spend too much time outside, install a dog door that allows him to go and come as he wishes. When the dog senses the presence of deer, he can dash out to deal with them and come right back when his work is done.
18. Maintain Your Landscape
Your yard should not be cozy for deer that wander into your property in search of food. Otherwise, they may turn your yard into their home when night falls or a resting place during the day.
Trim dense bushes because these serve as the ideal resting places and cover against predators. A neat and well-maintained landscape may not keep deer away, but it ensures they don’t get too comfortable and turn your property into a sleeping or resting place.
Deer are a menace and are difficult to control. You will have to use multiple deterrents to keep them from getting to your flowers. Most of the measures mentioned work, but you’ll need to alter how you use some of them to keep deer from realizing they are harmless. Time the interventions with deer movements so that you get to them before they get to your flowers. Best of luck!