Gardeners love adding new plants to their landscapes, and deer love eating them. Hungry deer, especially in the winter, will eat just about any vegetation. Deer can easily consume four pounds or more of plant material each day. So what can you do to deter deer from using your landscape as an all-you-can-eat buffet?
One place to start is planting plants that are undesirable to deer. Ornamentals such as hollies or junipers are less desirable to deer. This doesn't mean that they will not eat them, but the prickly leaves make it more difficult. Plants like hostas and pansies are quite tasty to deer. A complete list of deer tolerant ornamentals can be found at www.extension.uga.edu/publications/de tail.cfm?number=C985.
Odor repellents can also be used to keep deer at bay, but these are usually only temporary fixes. Odor repellents are not very effective because they wear off when it rains and deer can get use to them. Odor repellents work best if they are rotated. They should be applied at least once a month or after every rainfall. One person I know hung garlic sticks on his farm to deter deer from eating pears. "What I discovered is the deer must like garlic-flavored pears," he said.
Fencing is also another option for deterring deer. Since deer are such good jumpers, fencing needs to be 8-10 feet tall. There is a wide range of material options available for constructing a fence, from chain-link to electric.
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There are many different options for deterring deer from your landscape, but there are a few rules to remember. One, when it comes to controlling wildlife there are no rules. Two, deer cannot read. Three, there is no magic solution to controlling deer. And last but not least, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
DATES TO REMEMBER
March 4: Green Up, Macon 9 a.m.
March 10: Vegetable Gardening 101, Perry 6 a.m.
MIDDLE GEORGIA PRODUCTION MEETINGS
Thursday: Peanut Production, Perry, noon
March 4: Sorghum Production, Hawkinsville, noon
For more information, contact Houston County Extension at 478-987-2028 or visit the office at 801 Main St., Perry. Office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Visit www.caes.uga.edu/extension/houston for more news about your local Extension office.