[NAFEX] Deer repellents???
aleguy33 at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 26 12:10:05 EST 2009
My normal response to an animal pest (as opposed to an insect one) that is eating my food, is to eat the pest. As a farmer, I'm sure you could kill the deer without running into legal problems but if you're inside city limits you would probably have to use a bow. As far as repellents, none of them really seem to work for too long. While you may not be able to build a high fence, a barrier hedge of thorny/spiny plants could skirt the law and have the same effect.
Another option would be a short, legal fence that slopes outward. The deer would normally try to pass underneath such a barrier rather than jumping over it. Naturally it would not allow them in. Think a ten-foot fence that is sloped out so it is only six-feet high.
From: Road's End Farm <organic87 at frontiernet.net>
To: North American Fruit Explorers <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2009 10:33:42 AM
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Deer repellents???
On Feb 26, 2009, at 10:29 AM, Jim Fruth wrote:
> Is there a deer repellent that really works?
Lots of delicious stuff for the deer to eat, elsewhere in the immediate vicinity.
Almost everything works better if they're not too hungry.
> We've got about 800 feet of fence that keeps rabbits and other small
> critters out of the garden/orchard. Since 1994, deer have paid no attention
> to our spread with the occasional exception of an individual taking a
> short-cut through. That changed last Fall when they mowed the strawberry
> bed, ate our winter vegetables and spent numerous nights sleeping on the
> premises. Lately they have been walking up and down every row like they are
> wondering what to munch on first.
> We are located in the city and zoning laws forbid high fencing and
> electric fences. I'm afraid that they'll start munching when the leaves
> come out. What do you suggest that works?
While there's no fruit present on the strawberries: try scattering a little bloodmeal over the leaves. You don't need much, so it shouldn't cause an excess N problem; but you do need to renew it after each rain. Can't do this while they're bearing, of course.
Depending on the vegetables, you may be able to do the same thing at some growth stages. If they get in the habit of thinking that your stuff tastes and smells like a slaughterhouse, it may work, for vegetables (and strawberries while fruiting) that you can't put the bloodmeal directly on, to make a line of it around the field; maybe some through the paths also, if it's a large field; you want the general area to smell of the stuff. (to a deer, that is; your neighbors aren't likely to notice.)
If they've already gotten in the habit of eating in that area, and especially if there's nothing for them to eat elsewhere, the line-around-the-edges technique isn't likely to work; but even under those circumstances I've had some success in cases in which I could put the bloodmeal directly on the plants. If you start with strawberries first thing in the spring, and then when fruit starts to appear switch to the line around the edges, they may not figure out that there's none directly on the plants till after fruiting is over.
Good luck --
Finger Lakes NY; zone 5 mostly
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