It’s about that time of year when Michiganders start planning their gardens. Soon we will be on our hands and knees planting vegetables that we hope to harvest in the fall. That is if the deer don’t harvest them before you do. Here in Michigan, we are known for our deer population. As their numbers grow, competition for food increases. When deer wander into your yard, the buffet that is your garden might be too hard to resist.
Any experienced gardener knows how fast deer can decimate trees, shrubs, and vegetable gardens. We love our deer in Michigan, but we also love our gardens. Here are some non-harmful ways to keep deer out of your gardens.
It seems like deer will eat anything in their path. However, there are certain types of vegetation that deer don’t find quite as tasty. Just like insect-repelling plants, planting these amongst your vulnerable plants could protect them from hungry deer. Some common deer-resistant plants are:
In the spring, all of our plants are at their most vulnerable stage. This is especially true for fruit trees. In the spring, does and fawns are on the move looking for food, and they love the sweet taste of fruits and berries. To keep deer from munching on your valuable fruit trees, plant them closer to your house. Deer are more reluctant to come near your home.
We all know how skittish deer can be. They will perk their heads up at the slightest noise. So it makes sense that a wind chime could work well at preventing curious deer from getting too close to your garden. Wind chimes are a great temporary relief of deer. However, deer are smart and will quickly learn that the noises pose no threat to them. Therefore, you shouldn’t rely on wind chimes alone to protect your plants, but it could be used in combination with other methods.
If you want to keep deer out of your yard, then you don’t want to have any densely wooded areas or tall grass where they can bed down. This may not be an option for some homeowners in Michigan, but making slight changes like mowing the grass down a bit could deter deer from entering your property.
The ultimate defense is a very sturdy fence. If you’re going to use a fence to keep deer out of your garden, then you should take into account how high deer can jump. A fence at least seven feet high should do the trick. Deer can sense how high a barrier is, so refrain from using wooden top rails that deer can see and calculate their jumps.
Another method is to distract deer away from your garden by giving them something easier. This could be a salt lick, apples, carrots, or corn kernels. Many gardening and outdoor stores sell bags of vegetables specifically for feeding deer.
Many gardeners use a radio to deter hungry deer. All you need is a battery-powered portable radio and something to cover it with to protect it from rain and dew. A laundry basket works well. Set the station to whatever you like, but most gardeners say talk radio or a sports network work best. Deer will hear the voices and think someone is nearby and move away.
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