How to Keep Deer & Rabbits Out of Your Garden
Deer Repellent, Rabbit Repellent and Other TricksWith the start of our flower farm, we were hit pretty hard by a variety of pests right out of the gate (See my first post: How to get rid of grasshoppers). Living in a rural area at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, there are several families of deer that roam the area, and rabbits that run wild. Over the years, they have eaten our vegetables, chomped on our roses and nested in one of our lower fields. So as we planted out our flowers, I wanted to start early with preventative measures. So here is a list of methods and techniques that will hopefully help you:
- Physical Barriers (Fences) – using fences to keep our deer and rabbits is the ultimate preventative measure when looking to keep these pests out of the garden. For us, this was not practical at the time, and knowing that deer are jumpers, and can leap 8-12 ft, building a fence that high would have been expensive and ugly on our property. Obviously, a smaller fence would work for rabbits, but you also have to bury a portion for it to be effective. Some recommend double fencing, with 3-5 foot spacing to deter.
- Scare & Stun – so, another method is leveraging scare tactics to keep these critters away. I used CDs on strings, and found them quite effective for all mammals and birds, but my wife did not like the view ;). To use this method, just hang old CDs from a tree with fishing line and put a solar light in the area. The spinning disc will frighten deer and rabbits, squirrels, etc. Dogs can work quite well with their bark, and you can also take your canine friend in the garden with you. The smell and any urine will deter as well. I have also used brushed hair from my lab to help. You can also buy predator urine online, but this can be quite expensive.
- Deer Repellent/Rabbit Repellent – Studies have shown that sulfur odors (eggs and bloodmeal), garlic and hot pepper will help quite well. We have used this successfully, and sprayed at the border of the garden and on prized plants. You can make your own or purchase many commercial products.
- Special Crops – Planting crops that the deer and rabbit find undesirable can help. High scent plants like lavender, rosemary, oregano, garlic and onions planted at the border can help keep the critters out.
- Soap on a Rope – I have not tried this one, but many gardeners swear Irish Spring hung in small burlap bags around the garden will deter deer.
- Human Hair – another method is the sprinkling of human hair around the garden. I guess this would tie into the predator scent as well…if you want to collect hair ;).