Protecting Plants from Deer
|Construct a 7-foot-tall deer fence around new blueberry plantings to keep deer from nibbling on the young shoots.
By Charlie Nardozzi
Now that all your new berry bushes, fruit trees, and perennials are in the ground and growing strong, keep an eye out for hungry critters. Deer, in particular, can wipe out a new planting overnight, turning the joy of new gardens into the horror of plants eaten to the ground. Deer love the succulent new growth of berry bushes and trees and can easily stunt a new planting. There are two main ways to keep deer at bay: fencing and repellent sprays.
Fencing is the most surefire way to keep deer out of a garden or berry patch. Construct a fence 7 feet tall with sturdy wooden or metal posts. If a 7-foot-tall fence seems too imposing, you can build two 4- to 5-foot-tall fences spaced 4 to 5 feet apart. Deer can't jump over both fences in one bound and won't jump into the middle if there isn't a clear way out. Some gardeners have had success running a strand of monofilament fishing line around a garden at 3 to 4 feet high. The deer bump into the line but can't see it, so are unsure about proceeding. For individual fruit trees, consider just wrapping metal wire around the tree; support the wire with a sturdy stake until the tree outgrows the enclosure.
Scent- and taste-based repellent sprays may work well, too. There are many on the market and some home remedies are worth a try. Scent-based repellent sprays include active ingredients such as rotten eggs, perfumed soaps, human hair, and animal urine. Some taste-based sprays have ingredients such as cayenne pepper and Bitrex (a bitter compound used to stop kids from sucking their thumbs). The key to success is to use three or four different type of sprays and rotate them every few weeks. Rotating the sprays every few weeks will keep the deer confused, and hopefully off your new plants. Also, you may have to spray even more frequently in spring to cover new foliage as it grows and after it rains.
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There are two main ways to keep deer at bay: fencing and repellent sprays.