At one time or another in our lives, probably as children, we warned Bambi to run away from the fire or the hunter or wished that we could have a yearling to raise of our very own. However, we and Bambi grow up, and our perceptions and tastes change.
Many front rangers live with these beautiful creatures every day. Just yesterday, a small band of hungry does and fawns walked through my yard, grazing in the dry grasses. If only they would just eat the grasses, for we gardeners want to grow more than grasses in our yards.
Many flowers, trees, and shrubs that we add to the garden are palatable to the deer. There are lists of plants considered “deer resistant” available from your local independent garden center. The plants can be highly fragrant, bitter tasting, grey-green in color, fuzzy-textured, and not very appealing to the deer. Selecting from these lists is a good start toward making your yard less desirable. And, I think as long as you do not overfertilize and overwater these plants, the deer will not bother them; but nothing is guaranteed.
It may be possible to exclude the deer from the garden. Putting up an 8-foot fence works well but won’t look good in a suburban yard. Throwing garden netting over flowerbeds is an option. Even though it is black, it tends to visually disappear from a distance of only a few feet. Also, fishing line strung at intervals on posts is almost invisible to the creatures, so when they touch it and don’t see it, they kind of freak. Fishing line strung haphazardly on the edges of bushes and trees does the same thing.
Working on the deer’s sense of taste and smell is another option. Liquid or granular deterrents, and garlic stakes are recommended for deterring these biggest destroyers of the garden. Each of these products contains varying mixtures of ingredients that work on senses of taste and smell. They contain several of the following ingredients: putrescent whole-egg solids, garlic or garlic oil, capsaicin (hot pepper), dried blood, and sodium laurel sulfate. They are definitely bad-smelling and bad-tasting stuff. It is recommended that you rotate between two products or formulas to keep the deer off guard. They may get used to the smell and taste of one product and need a wake-up call with a new one.
Another deer deterrent is predator urine. Lion and cougar urines should strike fear into Bambi’s heart.
Living with wildlife has its challenges, but like gardening it can be an enjoyable experience.