Garden Protection a Year Round Job

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For those of us who live in the climate of four seasons, our garden season is soon coming to a close for the year.   Of course there is always work to be done if you insist, but otherwise, sedums and mums are pretty much our last show of bravado from our flowers.  If we’re lucky and the warm weather sticks around, the annuals will too, as well as the pests that suppose we should share our hard work with them. Garden protection year round is a must.

I have to admit to having a pretty successful winning war against the deer in my neighborhood this year. BUT, as with any scenario, get to cocky and you Murphy’s Law will but a big fat bulls eye on your back.

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Here, in central New Jersey, we are plagued with way to many deer per square mile. The house building craze that blossomed in the 70’s gave consistent birth too many developments over the past 40 years. With all the housing developments, the deer quickly adapted to the new environments and found them to be very desirable and easy to live in. Do you know what other Nature does when she thinks everything is copasetic? She multiplies!

In other words, life for the local deer became so easy…each house presented another landscaping buffet to behold as well as all those freshly cut grass lawns to munch on! OH, and when all these houses sit right alongside of a 100 acres of corn or soybeans…..Talk about Heaven! So of course if life is that easy to raise a family in, then why not have bigger families? And Mother Nature makes it so. Then the deer were having twins more often. Now, we are seeing more and more sets of triplets being born! OUCH!

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This post today is not for pro hunting, it’s about my precious garden. I don’t like vegetables, so I only grow flowers and enjoy sitting, and working, in my garden whenever I can. I can also tell with just a quick glance when something’s different or not right in my garden. Like a person with OCD knows when something has been moved out of its precise place.  The other day I went to the backyard and was immediately, and very indignantly, horrified that the deer munched my hibiscus plant to the bare branches! BASTARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Garden Protection Deer Out

I’ve been using this for several years now with a lot of success. You do have to remember to re spray every few inches of growth. I swear the deer know exactly when you have been lazy and have putting it off, BAM, they attack! Click to see more Deer Out options

Fresh Minty Smelling Deer Out

For several years now I have been using  “Deer Out” with quite a bit of success, when I do what I know I am supposed to. The guy who invented it lives locally and happened to be talking with my husband where he works. They got onto the topic of deer, and them eating everything, when the Hubby mentioned me fighting to keep the deer off and out of my flower gardens. The gentleman then offered to send a gallon to me for free to give it a try.  It worked. I was totally sold. AND it didn’t spell disgusting! But depending how big your gardens are, and the amount of deer you have to fight off, it can get expensive.

Before Mr  Deer Out showed up, another customer of the Hubby’s swore by Irish Spring soap. Said she has been using it for over 50 years to keep the deer away. I got some, shaved it and hung it in cut up pantyhose all around everything: flowers, shrubs, everything the deer touch. EHHH. Helped a little.

For Deer and Halloween?

Then I found another option to try, pretty sure it came up in my Facebook feed, but don’t really remember. Anyway I ordered it, I gave it a whirl. Hmmmmm, I think it helped a lot! What is it? Predator Eyes.  They were just little rectangular boxes with a solar panel and two little red lights. They charge up during the day and blink on and off all night. The trick to these, is to move them very couple of days or even just face them a different way. They are supposed to resemble predators, so leaving them in the same spot the deer will figure its harmless if it never ever moves.  I purchased four and spread them around my yard (about 2.25 acres).These can also be used to help warn off raccoons, foxes and other wildlife that might bother, or threaten, any  of your outside animals. One of these days I plan on mounting these on a pole, using 4 of them, like a weather vane, so that I don’t have to manually move them anymore. The ultimate would to have at least four of these on my property.

garden protection predator eyes

I have had these for about 3 years now to help protect my gardens from deer and my quail from raccoons and foxes. Click to purchase or check out other styles.

Well, earlier on in the spring I went in the shed to get my Deer Out when I realized I didn’t even have any? I could of sworn I bought 4 gallons last year & only used two? CRAP. I didn’t really have the money to spend of deer control due do my car being a recent money pit on crack. So I figured I try the Irish Spring soap again. This time I just took it out of the box and threw them in the garden.  I also had another problem: Cami.  Cami loves to take stuff and run around with it, then usually hangs out by a tree down back and chews on her stolen merchandise. Usually.   Two of the four “eyes” are accounted for this year.

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A seriously cheap, but effective, way to go when trying to keep your plants safe.

 

Damnit Damnit Damnit

The Irish Spring worked like a charm!!! Talk about awesome and saving some money! Just last month I bought another supply of soap and spread them around, especially around our younger ornamental trees to detour the deer from rubbing their antlers on them. Was very pleased that NONE of our trees got hit this year!!! YAY!!!! And then just the other day I saw it.  DAMNIT! One of my hibiscus plants got nailed, nailed good.  I take a closer look and there are THREE bars of Irish Spring soap less than 10 feet from it so what the hell gives????!!

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Cocky Much, Who Me?

Remember what I sad about being cocky? Yeah, well, I was looking pretty good in my cockiness suit….I should of known better. UGH.  How could I have gone all the way until almost October without any deer problems? And then the other day I mowed the lawn and saw “droppings” everywhere. What the hell is going on? My garden ego took a serious beating. I am trying hard not to be to hard on myself since the only plants hit were 2 hibiscus plants, one totally eaten and the other just partially ( I’m the only one that notices it) and they took a couple of nibbles from my one bunch of mums that I didn’t even notice the first time.

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Moral Of The Story

The Moral of the Story:  If you live in deer country, do not ever underestimate your opponent and always keep a diligent eye on your gardens, and anything else edible on your property. Spring and summer are just the highlight of gardening seasons, but at no time are your plants free from hungry long legged varmints. Garden Protection is a must at all times! Another time to be very proactive is late winter. When the food supply has dwindled, the deer will be back in droves, to snatch some easy pickings on any shrubs alongside your house. In areas where there is little, to no, obstacles for them, they will have no problem blatantly eating everything you own, right smack in the middle of the day while you watch them.  Places like mine, where there are two dogs who can roam the property with free will (in ground dog fence), the deer know when their “last call” is and patiently wait on the sidelines till the coast is clear. Make no mistake, these creatures are diabolical. Every time you think you have them figured out, they will change all the rules!

 

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8 Comments

  1. Jim

    Hi there. I do live in deer country (and antelope country, and turkey country, and pheasants, and rabbits, and an occasional skunk, phewy!) We don’t have any luck keeping those deer out of the vegetation no matter what we’ve tried. the only thing that works is a five foot fence! so we end up fencing out the deer from all the young trees, and shrubs of any age, and of course flowers. And if the deer don’t eat something, then the bucks will come around during the rut and rake a tree to death. They ruined a young spruce tree last fall, and a Canada Red that we just planted earlier that year. We have an old pick-up that stays parked most of the time, and the turkeys think it’s the public outhouse or something. All around that truck is piles and piles of you know what. I love living away from town! Those are just a couple of the minor drawbacks, but I wouldn’t trade this for anything. I love your site, and I will definitely try some of your deer away suggestions. Thanks and I’ll talk to ya soon, Jim

    Reply
    1. Donna (Post author)

      I hear about deer rubbing trees!!!! The Hubby & I buy trees for special occasions and plant them so we are VERY sentimental about our trees. This year I finally put a tree that is for my grandson in the ground. My grandson dies when he was 8 days old & I had planted a Japanese Lace Leaf Maple behind his gravestone. The tree was perfect for the spot since it only branches out on one side. A year later I was told I had to remove it, I did, planted in my garden at home. Well…..the dogs started chewing on it & then it accidentally got broken. I was heart broken & didn’t know what to do with it so I just left it there. 2 months later a sprout appeared! I let it grow & to help the young tree safe I planted it in a whiskey barrel. & years later it really needed to come out & I finally decide on the right spot. So this year is all about keeping the deer OFF this tree!!!! So far so good! THANK GOD!!!!!

      Reply
  2. Grant

    I know exactly what you mean! My Dad went through the same thing every year. He tied soap on sticks and stuck them around the garden. Tin pie plates blew in the breeze. Human hair scattered all through the garden. It’s a constant battle!

    Reply
    1. Donna (Post author)

      The deer here are so tame that some things like human hair just don’t work, they are to adjusted to smelling us. My one dog who is a bit short and fat, will run across the lawn barking at them…they take a glance at him & go back to what they were doing! in the meantime, Manny realizes they aren’t paying any attention to him so he stops, turns around and goes in the house!

      Reply
  3. Emma

    Goodness! You are certainly fighting a battle to keep those deer off your garden! Its great that you have managed to find a solution though. I’m glad that deer aren’t a problem here, though birds and bugs can certainly be pesky! I myself am starting a vegetable garden in a month or two if I can save up enough to get it going. But I’ll also be growing a few flowers to keep things interesting 😉

    Reply
    1. Donna (Post author)

      Critters are a never ending battle. My dogs contribute as well since one thinks he should hunt for toads and the other chases grasshoppers all over!!!
      I have been going back & forth about doing some veggies, but that is a whole other bucket of money to invest in & I’m not sold yet…. I might just ix them in with the flowers, we’ll see!

      Reply
  4. Cat

    They are beautiful to look at but they sure know a thing or two about wrecking a garden. And they carry ticks which are my biggest peeve. The soap and the Deer Out, are the organic and safe for everything else ie the nice things you want to keep in your garden?
    Best of luck in your future endeavours 🙂

    /Cat

    Reply
    1. Donna (Post author)

      Yes, the soap & deer Out are harmless. I am cautious about what I use since I have 2 dogs that are constantly in everything I am doing. For weed killer, I use vinegar, because of the dogs also.

      Reply

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