Posted by Jennifer Smith on March 13, 2017
Winter Is Over.
Finally, the snow is melting and the temperatures are rising. You can even see your tulips start to perk up, a sign of life. You know #Spring is here (the first day of spring is March 20, 2017). But, as soon as you put up the 'Open For Business' sign in your garden, white-tailed deer will be visiting your yard to scope-out what organic vegetables they can feast upon this season. After all, they've waited all winter to be well-fed.Yes, their beady-brown eyes make them look adorable, graceful and innocent enough; but gardeners and farmers know the truth: deer are the most destructive type of wildlife in North America. In fact, "it has been estimated that in the United States deer damage a total of $100 million of agricultural crops, $750 million of forest regeneration, and $1 billion in deer vehicle accidents." (West Virginia DNR)
And so it begins...
You're ready to garden; but deer are here to stay. You know that once they establish a territory they will not leave unless forced out. So, let's do it. Deer can be stopped. Wait, deer must be stopped! You've turned your favorite hobby into a passionate way of living; and you shouldn't let your hard work go to waste because of Bambi and his rude friends.
In March alone, gardeners can grow plants such as:
How to save plants from deer:The #1 most effective garden management solution is to install deer fence in yards. There are numerous reasons to build a deer fence in the backyard. For starters, deer have horrible vision, 20/200 to be precise, with very blurry vertical vision. Because they are unable to accurately gauge the height of a fence, they are less willing to jump the fence line if it's over 7.5' feet tall. (Deer can jump between 7-10 feet high.) Deer will walk the fence line, even try digging underneath the fence, before jumping it.
In short, Mastergardening.com recommends installing a 7.5' deer fence. If deer pressure is low, homeowners are safe to install a poly deer fence. We suggest choosing a poly deer fence with a reinforced bottom edge, if you have the added rodent problem, and need a dig-proof fence. This type of fence will last 15-20 years in the field. For higher pressure, choose a metal fence such as our steel hex web fence. These are chew-proof fences that last 20-30 years in the field and appear virtually invisible from a distance.
To stop digging deer, add ground stakes to hold down the fence.
Grow Plants to Keep Out Deer.
Deer rely heavily on their sense of smell to find an appetizing meal. Mastergardening suggests that home owners plant strong scented herbs such as garlic, lavender and mint to mask the sweet smell of nearby annuals. If the deer go for the perennials, then you know that they will stop at nothing to get to better tasting food.
Deer like the sweet smell of flowers such as roses; but if you plant barberries, or cleome near the plants you want to protect, then the deer will fear rummaging through the garden to reach the better tasting plants.
Mastergardening.com also recommends planting shrubs or hedges as a deer barrier to keep deer away from gardens. Out of sight out of mind, right?
Reinforcing deer management this season is key to growing a bountiful organic garden.