3810 Whites Creek Pike, Nashville, TN 37207 (615) 876-1014

Archive date:  February 7, 2014

Oh Deer Me

Dealing with an uninvited guest

What often looks like a picture along a roadside; a group of deer gently grazing is a beautiful sight. Put these same animals in your back yard, and it can spell frustration. For many of us, deer are a part of life we have to accept. If you live in an area where deer and other wildlife (I am referring to animals; not the neighbors) are problematic, you might be inclined to throw up your hands and yell, “Dad-gum those Deer!” or possibly something even harsher.

Your trees, shrubs and flowers often look like an all-you-can-eat buffet to wildlife. Deer love fruit and many kinds of shrubbery. They frequently lunch on the branches of apple and other trees.

Deer can make keeping a beautiful garden, a nice lawn, or some outstanding trees in good shape a real challenge. Fortunately, there are several simple and relatively inexpensive ways to keep the damage to a minimum.

Having a feeder or mineral block away from the garden will help keep their focus where you want it to be, away from your plants and flowers. You can try one of the many commercially available deer repellent sprays, but they require frequent re-application and the results are mixed at best. Probably the best defense is using plants they find distasteful and fowl smelling...at least to them.

Aromatic plants include: scented geranium, oregano, mint, thyme, rosemary and Poukhanense Azalea, to name a few. Distasteful plants include: dwarf Alberta Spruce, juniper of all species, buckeyes, elderberry, boxwood and yarrow to name a few.

Planting a section of clover near the back of an unfenced yard will tend to keep them there and away from your garden.

Keeping Mother Nature’s grazers in view, but out of the garden is certainly achievable. In areas where the problems are great, it will likely require using all the tools in your arsenal to keep the “diners” at bay. By making your garden less appealing to these uninvited guests, it will go a long way towards managing and minimizing the damage done.

David Bates