News and Blog Articles
News and Blog Articles
September is here, and we can’t wait for the cooler weather, changing leaves, and of course, Pumpkin Spice Everything! But with September comes deer season: archery starts on September 10th, and firearms on October 22th. With the hunters of our community preparing their hunting grounds and doing everything in their power to get the deer right where they want them, you’ll probably start seeing more and more deer wandering around your neighborhood.
This leads to two kinds of people: those who are excited to see the deer and want to encourage them to hang around, and those who appreciate the deer but would rather they stay away from their vegetable garden. Whichever one you are, you’re in luck; we’ve compiled a list of ways you can attract or repel deer from your yard.
How to Attract Deer
There are three big factors when it comes to encouraging deer to like your yard. Provide all three, and you’ll have deer wandering through on a daily basis!
Feed Them, and They Will Come
It might seem obvious, but the first thing you’ll want to consider cultivating to encourage deer is something they like to eat. Deer are notorious for grazing through gardens and feasting on flowerbeds, and the way to their heart is definitely through their stomach.
Professional gardeners and landscapers recommend planting a specific plot of deer-attracting plants, rather than scattering them around your yard. Giving the deer a specific place to go to with a reliable and plentiful supply of food will result in more and more deer wandering to the new local hotspot.
Where Should I Make It?
You’ll want to keep this special garden a safe distance from your home. While deer are rarely a direct threat to humans or children, bringing them too close to where you live may result in a scare on both sides, which will discourage deer from visiting! Deer can also cause property damage in their escape attempts when confronted with a surprise, so you won’t want to lead them close to lawn ornaments, satellite dishes, or the kids’ sandbox.
What Should I Plant?
There’s an endless list of bushes, flowers, trees, and crops you can plant that deer would happily munch on. You can tailor your choices to what you’d like to have around your home. Are you interested in colorful flowers, or just greenery? Do you have the time to keep up with high-maintenance crops, or do you need a seed-it-and-leave-it clover field?
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that deer, just like us, prefer a little variety in their diet. Try to plant a range of different things for them to choose from. You may also want to look into what plants and crops are already available to them in the area; if there’s a huge corn field just down the road, then planting corn won’t be as enticing as planting something they don’t already have easy access to.
Here’s just a fraction of the plants you can consider:
Don't Forget the Water!
The next thing deer will happily congregate to is a water source. This doesn’t have to look like an expensive, man-made pond or creek—anything that will collect or hold water will do.
For smaller yards, consider installing a little bird bath. Change the water every week or so, and you’ll help not only the deer, but also birds, squirrels, and more.
If you’ve got the land for it, a shallow trench works great for collecting rainwater rather than letting it run off.
Provide Some Coverage
The last thing to keep in mind as you plan out a deer garden is that deer, like many woodland animals, don’t like to be out in the open. Giving them plenty of shrubs, trees, and foliage to hide in will make them safe enough to come around often, and bring their friends!
The easiest way to do this is to plant at least one food source that is foliage-heavy and/or tall. Corn, sunflowers, hydrangeas, and berry shrubs are just a few examples of deer-attracting foods you can plant that will double as cover for the skittish animals. You can also choose to plant things that aren’t necessarily known for attracting deer for the sole purpose of providing them with a place to hide.
This might look like bushes, tall grasses, or even climbing vines on a trellis.
How to Repel Deer
Deer are elegant creatures, and we aren’t disputing their importance to the ecosystem and their value as game to feed families. But that doesn’t mean you want them around all the time. Especially when they like to eat half your garden! Deer are a year-round nuisance to gardeners and landscapers alike, but luckily, there a few different methods to help keep them away from your home.
Grow Some Plants Deer Just Don’t Like
An easy deterrent to the local deer population is to fill or border your yard with something they don’t want to eat. This isn’t 100% foolproof—if a deer gets hungry enough, she won’t be picky—but it’s a good way to discourage deer from wandering to the area. These kinds of plants include: lavender, catmint, garlic, chives, yarrow, and most all aromatic herbs.
If you do happen to have (or want to have) any of the deer-attracting plants we mentioned earlier, there are few things you can do.
Consider moving them closer to your home—if a deer has to cross a lot of open space to get to their favorite snack, they’re likely to just move on. You can also plant some deer-repelling plants around the deer-attracting ones to help disguise their presence.
Level Up Your Landscaping
Like we said earlier, deer are skittish animals and prefer lots of different places to hide. If you take away their cover, they’ll be less likely to linger. This can be as simple as keeping your grass cut short and pruning back excess foliage, but can also be as intensive as adding terraces or different levels to your yard. Deer don’t like to climb or walk up and down steep slopes, so adding dimension to your land is a great deterrent. You could also install fencing around your property—anything that’s tall with no gaps to see through will have deer thinking your yard isn’t worth the effort.
Liquid Sprays and Repellents
If you don’t want to alter your yard or do any gardening to keep deer away, another easy solution is to buy a deer repellent. These usually come in the form of sprays or droppers that deter deer by smells or pheromones. Be forewarned, however, because these can be pretty strong, and don’t smell too great to us humans, either!
Kinetic and Motion Activated Anything
We’ve established that deer are, by nature, skittish, so to discourage them from wandering your property, consider adding a kinetic or motion-activated ornament to your yard. These aren’t dangerous for the animals (or any animals, for that matter), but easily scary wary creatures without any input from you. Something as simple as a windchime can help, but there are also more complex devices, such as motion-activated noise and/or light makers. Any sudden movement, sound, light, or other sensory input will have deer immediately on high-alert, and they’ll high-tail it out of there.
So there you have it. Whether you’re looking to encourage deer to come around or you’d rather they stay far, far away, just a few of these suggestions will ensure you’re fully prepared for the impending deer season!
Emily Casuccio is sister and sister-in-law to Rebekah and Scott Rushing, and has over half a decade of experience in copywriting, copyediting, proofreading, and developmental storyboarding. She's worked with both published and undiscovered authors on both fiction and nonfiction, and takes pride in supporting local businesses. Her passion lies in the written word and helping authors of all capacities realize their dreams and achieve their fullest potential. To learn more about her, read samples of her work, or contact her, visit her online portfolio.