Gardening Tips and Highlights

Deer-proofing your garden

by Christine Yesko


Despite gardener’s best efforts, deer do damage to landscape plantings. People often ask: What can I plant that deer won’t eat? or how can I stop deer from browsing on my favorite plants? The simple answers are that there are very few truly deer-proof plants and that if deer are hungry enough, repellents, scare devices and gadgets, and poorly constructed physical barriers will all fail.

These are the Myths about repelling deer:

Barrier planting will ward off deer from more delectable plants. Deer will gladly reach over low-growing aromatic lavender or sage to reach your prize rose bushes. Barrier plants need to be at least four-feet high and deep.

Dryer sheets deter deer. These make your garden smell freshly laundered, but the general consensus is that deer are not bothered by them.

Blood meal around plants keep deer away. The effectiveness is limited, as deer quickly become accustomed to the scent. If used in excess, this may harm your plants. Some things that do work are hanging sachets filled with Milorganite fertilizer around the area or apply it at half the recommended rate around emerging bulbs and plants in spring. Reapply a month later. In summer, apply repellents containing an egg-based product, which is sold anywhere. Come late summer and fall, physical barriers, like fencing or burlap wraps, could be used.


There isn’t any correct answer to this problem. If the area has a harsh, snowy winter as in the past, with heavy ice and snow conditions, deer will look for the easiest source of food, gardens, and people’s favorite plantings.