Deer Resistant Yard Design Tips

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A high deer population can be hard on your landscape plants. While it is common to fence in your backyard to protect it, this may not be an option in your front yard. Fortunately, there are some landscaping tips you can implement that can allow you and the deer to live together in something approaching harmony.

Tip #1: Protect young trees

Deer, especially in winter when food sources are low, will sometimes peel the bark off of young trees. You can prevent this by making a cage from wire mesh fencing. Form the fencing into a tube that is 6 inches wider than the trunk and tall enough to cover the trunk to the lower branches. Place the tube around the trunk and stake it in place. This method can be used to protect any tree that the deer are nibbling at.

Tip #2: Plant unsavory plants

Some plants aren't very appetizing to deer. For example, many deer won't touch holly, barberry, iris, or shasta daisies, just to name a few. Choosing these over the plants deer prefer, like roses and many flowering annuals, can go a long way toward making your yard the least favorite diner on the block. If you must have a few deer favorites in your yard, try hiding them in a cluster of plants that deer normally won't eat.

Tip #3: Transplant older plants

Tender young growth is often a favorite of deer, so skip this step when planting your garden. Instead, opt for mature plants from the nursery that are already at nearly full size. This way there won't be any tender young plants to entice the deer into your yard to feast. Going with older plants is especially helpful with varieties that become woody as they age, like lavender, because deer usually prefer the young green growth to the older woody growth.

Tip #4: Use repellents

Finally, try your luck with some repellent techniques. There are spray-on repellents that either contain predator scents to scare off deer or taste repellents like chili oil to dissuade them from chomping on your plants. You can also use motion repellents, which are activated to move, make noise, or spray water when they detect motion from a deer. These can be sufficient to scare off some deer, although in areas with high populations you may need to combine repellents with the other tips above.

For more help in designing a deer-resistant garden, talk to a landscape designer in your area.