how to keep deer away from your plants

Page 1 of 2  
Dear fellow gardeners, I have a small garden, and have had one every year for the past couple of years. I've never had deer eat anything. One reason is because I grow herbs in my garden, and deer don't like herbs. Also, to keep bugs away from our tomato plants, I surround the perimeter of the garden with marigolds. I hope that this helps. Laurie
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You've just been lucky. Deer get hungry enough they will eat anything green. I had a 6 point buck and 2 does walk up to me within 15 yards yesterday while cutting the grass with my self propelled (noisy) mower. When my chestnuts start dropping nuts you have to throw stuff at them to keep them away ;( Frank
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Laur) wrote:

There are many places deer have never been. However, once they find a place they usually go back. Their favorite places are places that either have fruit like apples or are green in the winter. Most herbs have no fruit and aren't green in the winter. However when food is in short supply, deer will browse even the most undesirable plants.
Deer do like some herbs such as:
Aegopodium podagaria - goutweed, herb gerard Cherianthus - wallflower Hosta - candy to deer Hemerocallis - daylily Pelargonium - geranium Vinca minor - periwinkle Viola - pansies & violas
They don't normally like:
Angelica Anise Hyssop Basil Catmint Chamomile Chives Comfrey Dill Fennel Lamb's ears Lavender Lavender Cotton Lemon balm Mint Mullein Oregano Parsley Rosemary Sage Thyme
--
Pardon my spam deterrent; send email to snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rhodyman
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 19 Aug 2004 10:53:38 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Laur) wrote:

Well, that depends. Last week deer cleaned out my Italian parsley. Deer remember where all the tasty pickings are and will return.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The deer are especially very annoying. The government prohibits hunting on their land ever since 9-11, now we are seeing deer in the middle of the day, instead of just at night. And, in my small town (pop 28,000) there is one deer-auto collision every day ! :(
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I read this somewhere and it has worked for me for 1 year in central Texas to protect newly planted trees with bocu deer around. Take a bar of Irish Spring soap, drill a hole in it for a piece of plastic clothesline rope and hang one every 100 ft or less around the plants to be protected.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 20 Aug 2004 07:02:42 -0500, "Fritz von Herbenfeller"

But won't that cause a bunch of Irish guys to come around wanting to take showers in your garden?
Seriously, the as far as I know, the only sure way to keep the deer out of your garden is a 10 foot fence.
Hal

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Funny how the smell-of-soap-repels-deer urban folklore usually is restricted to the magical properties of Irish Spring -- perhaps because it's got Irish fairies in it. Sometimes it's Lifeboy, Ivory, Coast, or Dial has the magic properties, but the great majority of times it's Irish Spring.
Often when this legend is alluded to as true, it will be stated without citation that a university horticultural station proved only Irish Spring works -- the university being variously identified as in California, in Illinois, or Massachusetts. I've never been able to track down such a field study, though I found an amateur study conducted by landscaper William H. Frederick of Pennsylvania, who stated categorically the Irish Spring soap had no effect on the deer. A University of Florida Warrington College of Business market research study DID establish that people were easily misled into believing Irish Spring cleaned better than other bar soaps, based only on it having more perfume in it.
So I'm still willing to read that alleged field study if it actually exists. The rumor of such a study seems to be based on a University of Illinois Horitlucltural Extension's hand-out sheet on what to do about deer. It was not a study on any level, but it did mention that deer dislike strong unfamiliar smells & stuff that tastes awful, so that soap & tobasco sauce applied to plants could be "moderately effective." No special brand was mentioned, & it did not recommend hanging bars about the property, but recommended making a nasty-smellikng nasty-tasting liquid to paint on branches of shrubs & trees. Other horticultural statiosn have expressed the opinion in their hand-outs that soap might have a very transient effect until the deer figured out the smell was unimportant, but again, no study.
My theory is this "Irish Spring repells deer" urban legend got started this way: Hunters know that if deer in the wild smell hunters, they flee lest they get shot, so hunters like to dump deer piss all over themselves so that they will smell better than humans. A nice clean man who uses a manly soap (Irish Spring the only soap ever marketed as a "manly" soap), then the deer would smell the manly men from an even greater distance, same as if they had spritzed themselves with their grandma's equally manly cheap perfume, for Irish Spring has way more perfume than most brands. Someone at some time must've used this as evidence that it was the Irish Spring & not the hunters that repelled the deer in the woods. Therefore in the garden, if you took a nice long shower using Irish Spring, then ran outdoors & flapped your arms at the deer, the smell of the soap would make them run away. The effect might not be quite so dramatic, however, if you've merely got bars of soap hanging about the yard.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I doubt any study exists on the effectiveness of Irish Spring soap as a deer repellent, not that it matters, since everyone knows that anecdotal evidence trumps science anyway. Anything with a strong smell may discourage deer from an area, for no other reason that it interferes with their ability to smell approaching predators. This tends make them nervous, and may lead to them avoiding the area. Any strong smelling (deodorant) soap will work. The reason that soap is used is because it is cheap, easy to get and lasts a long time in the garden. Perfume would probably work just as well, if you wanted to keep spraying it. As with all repellents, it works with varing degrees of effectiveness. Being generally cheap, easy and safe I see no reason not to at least try it.
Keith
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

In some areas the deer have no fear of predators since there aren't any. We have deer hunting and I solicit people to hunt on my land so our deer still have a good fear of predators. However they aren't spooked by strong smells when they are hungry, like in winter when snow is on the ground.
--
Pardon my spam deterrent; send email to snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rhodyman
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net (paghat) wrote:

Actually deer usually first detect their predators by their smell. Man is their main predator as you mention. Any strong smell whether it be soap, herbs, rotten eggs, garlic, or most anything dulls their sense of smell and their ability to protect themselves from predators. Natural selection has reinforced their natural reaction to this bad situation. However, natural selection has also taught them that starving is also bad, and that strong smells are not as bad as starvation.
--
Pardon my spam deterrent; send email to snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rhodyman
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 20 Aug 2004 15:24:55 -0400, "Stephen M. Henning"

Ha! It is not unusual deer to stand within 20 feet of me, casually munching on the grass. One came as close as 6 feet--all I can remember are those huge ears! I have seen as many as 14 deer on my front lawn. And this happens in the middle of the city. It doesn't take long to take a shrub down to the ground. Many neighbors have tried rotten eggs, tobacco infusions, human hair, fox urine, human urine, Milorganite, etc etc without success. Fencing, a dog, bow-and-arrow (although illegal) are very effective.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

People confuse the behavior of deer in the wilderness during hunting season, with deer that have learned to live amidst human populations. If the latter were worried about the myriad smells of people they wouldn't be munching folks' gardens at all!
-paggers
--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 20 Aug 2004 10:14:08 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net (paghat) wrote:

Perhaps because it's the ugliest smelling soap there is.
--
09 = ix

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net (paghat) wrote in

I believe using soap has also been suggested on that well known gardening show "Ask This Old House" <tickle>.
I don't know why you'd ask your house anything, but I guess the old ones would know better than the young ones.

Irish Spring is manly soap??? Finally, I can get rid of my vat of beef tallow and lye!
Haven't you ever heard of 'soap on a rope'
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 20 Aug 2004 09:38:02 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com wrote:

The clue for folk remedies is any discussion whatsoever. IF soap (of any brand), or human hair or urine or chile solution actually worked, there would be no discussion. It would be in all the FAQs. It would be standard advice in gardening mags and newspaper columns.
I guess it's the appeal of magic. It's a lot more interesting to imagine hanging up a cheap bar of soap would be the perfect deterrent, than to accept that (expensive) physical barriers are the only things that stop hungry wildlife. Same with rabbits, of course. And cures for the common cold. :-)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

what you just said is: because discussion, therefore folk remedy, therefore ineffective, which just isn't a logical conclusion.
Folk remedies can be effective - if only from the time they are conceived to the time they transition to 'scientific' or 'generally accepted' remedy. Obviously you've got a whole other class of 'science' remedies that are necessarily broader in scope or more easily applied to order to take advantage of economy of scale in a capitialist society. That does not make them more effective or more applicable than folk remedies, just cheaper in terms of money or competence. You can certainly claim something 'works' because there is an observable result, and that something else 'does not work' because it works specificly and you have the wrong specifics.
For the soap remedy to work, it needs to induce a psychosomatic response in the deer. This response can be conditioned or innate. Since probably there is nothing intrinsically, unavoidably or lethally toxic to deer in the soap, you'll have to do with some conditioned response, and as noted, many deer no longer avoid unnatural/artificial smells. Also, most deer to not like to lay down and die, so if they are hungry and there are no alternative foods, then you are SOL. This also applies if what you are growing has any psychotropic compounds enjoyable to deer.
If using the soap solely as a passive deterrent, given the current population ratio of deer to deer predators in the US, the efficiacy will probably be on the order of 'does not work' since deer are likely learn that soap really isn't a concern (at least not comparable to starvation). But that doesn't mean soap is not going to work for somebody that lives near a relatively balanced ecosystem or near a kid* who carves slingshot pellets from soap pieces.
* This message has not been approved by PETA
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 22 Aug 2004 18:31:37 GMT, Salty Thumb

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. What I meant was that when there is a lively exchange of anecdotal material and folklore remedies for a problem, it is pretty much a given that the "solutions" proposed are wishful thinking. For every "I sprinkled human hair around and no longer have a problem," there are a dozen "I tried the hair thing and it didn't make a bit of difference." If any of these myths worked reliably, there would be no discussion. Someone would ask how to prevent deer (or rabbits) from eating domestic greenery, the reply would be "Avon Skin-So-Soft on cotton balls", with 2 "yes, this works" follow-ons.
One problem with (1st hand) anecdotal evidence is that much of it is quite truthful. Person A may very well have had deer devouring his rosebushes, hung up a bar of soap, and then no deer. However, there could be several reasons for this: deer weren't terrifically hungry, and the scent of soap was enough to discourage them; deer found better food (rosebushes had become stubs) and moved on; human activity in the area spooked them and they decided not to return; it was one animal doing the damage and that one died...etc., etc. So for that person, soap "worked." Forever after, he's going to tell everyone a bar of Lifebuoy is magic. Even if he has a similar problem later or in another place (with hungrier deer), and soap doesn't work, he's going to swear the formulation of the soap has changed, and wax nostalgic about the good ol' deer-repelling version.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote

I agree except I don't think having a discussion indicates the useful / uselessness of a folk remedy any more than having a discussion about a manufactured herbicide (use full strength, use 2x concentration, 2x doesn't work as well, RTFL, use a paint brush to apply, doesn't work at all XYZ plants, etc) indicates that herbicide is a folk remedy.
While this discussion turned out to be as lively as a bottle fish emulsion, does the fact that we are talking about it affect the validity of your assertion (while not a folk remedy per se, but could be considered as folk wisdom)? Perhaps everyone else in the universe is silently nodding their head at you (lack of discussion), in which you would be right. On the other hand, everyone may think you are wrong, but lack the time, wherewithal or conviction to say anything.
For what it's worth, soap is also recommended as possibly effective for "minor deer damage problems" on p.11 of Rodale's _All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening_, 1997. If it doesn't work, you can take a cold shower afterwards.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 25 Aug 2004 13:13:47 GMT, Salty Thumb

What I mean by "discussion" is an ongoing thread that includes "my uncle always..." and "the pieplates worked/didn't work for me..." introducing all the mythological fixes we've read dozens of times.
Obviously, "discussion" doesn't mean folklore, or there'd be rec.gardens.folklore and rec.gardens.RTFL.
How would *you* distinguish between passing along the 'fact' that soap on a rope will keep deer away from your azaleas, and the information that RoundUp *doesn't* work on plants with thick, waxy leaves like ivy and Vinca?

Well, at least we're not discussing the many and varied ways to get around the serious business of putting up a deer fence. :-)

"Minor deer damage"? Fawns nibbling daintily at just the *tips* of the asparagus? :-) *I* think it means "not very hungry deer."
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.