[NAFEX] deer eating persimmons/apples/roses

Raby, Brian brian.raby at roche.com
Thu Jun 11 15:07:44 EDT 2009

I remember a few years ago that a message thread was going around about deer prevention in orchards, etc... In this, someone suggested taking a couple of raw eggs, some water and run the mixture thru a blender.  Place it in a bottle and spray.  Need to reapply after a rain event.

What triggered that thought was this thread I received yesterday from Cider Digest on a gardener/grower named Dick Dunn from Hygiene Colorado who used a product call Liquid Fence that contained "putrescent egg solids"..  I'm interested if anyone else has had success with this product since I have a number of young trees that I will be transplanting to my new orchard area next year.  Read his testimony

He writes:

Deer damage is a common problem for orchards.  We don't see deer here very often, so I've not had much chance to test until recently.

A few years ago we had an errant young buck find his way into the orchard and start sampling.  I panicked and looked all over for whatever repellents were available, found one, applied it, and had no further problems that year.

I continued applying it according to the most lenient (longest interval) schedule through the growing seasons of succeeding years.  Although I saw no deer damage, I also saw no deer.  So I'd begun to wonder if my treatment was like granny's glass of water on the kitchen windowsill to keep lightning away.  ("It works! Never been hit by lightning!")

This spring I'd noticed what -looked- like insect damage on a few plants around the place, but last Friday I caught on when I saw a deer running up our fence line.  (I'm slow but I pick up on subtle cues like that.) So I hurried out and sprayed the repellent (which I had neglected so far this spring) on all the trees in the orchard.  Along the way I noted various small bits of unwelcome pruning--the deer had been wandering around sampling the young branches.  Next day I checked and didn't see any more obvious damage to the apples, but a few of our roses had been literally "nipped in the bud", and I figured out that some damage to our peas was also deer damage.  So I sprayed everything likely to get hit, not just apples.  And no new damage Sunday...so, so far so good.

This morning (Monday) I looked out to see the deer contentedly grazing!...but on grass nearby the trees.  After chasing it off I checked carefully.
No new damage even on small trees fifteen feet from where he'd been.  So this is good enough for me to say the repellent really works.

I don't want to turn this into a brand-name testimonial, but what I've used is called Liquid Fence.  There might be other products with similar formulations.  The main ingredients are "putrescent egg solids" and garlic.  I'm pretty sure the rotten eggs are the key to the success, because I've heard mixed results with garlic/capsaicin products.

(The other active ingredients are sodium lauryl sulfate, which I presume is a spreading agent, and potassium sorbate.  Yeah...a preservative?!?  Maybe to help the garlic retain its potency?)

Anyway, it works without anything particularly toxic; it -might- be suitable for organic orchards I don't know.  The one real caution is to pay attention to wind direction when you're spraying!  You do NOT want it on you because it has a thoroughly disgusting smell, and is persistent.

-----Original Message-----
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Hilborn.E at epamail.epa.gov
Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2009 11:34 AM
To: North American Fruit Explorers
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] deer eating persimmons?

Deer just topped my newly planted Early Golden persimmon last night.  It

was protected by a 4 foot tree protector, but about 4 inches of growth

had just cleared the top. Gone now.  As is all the foliage from the 7"

tall Dunstan chestnut in a pot on my front porch!

And to think, this week I had been delighting in the early morning fawn

antics around my place.

No more warm and fuzzy feelings for the "hoofed rats" as Lucky so

eloquently refers to them.

Betsy Hilborn

7a NC


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