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Not Now, Deer

posted Jan 13, 2013, 11:09 AM by Garima Fairfax   [ updated Dec 12, 2018, 11:34 AM by Deirdre Daly ]
by Garima Fairfax 

I just found a book called DEERPROOFING YOUR YARD & GARDEN by Rhonda Massingham Hart. It starts with eye-opening facts about deer that help you understand their perspective, as well as their strengths and their beauty, and their incredible senses of smell, hearing, sight, and survival.

You can read about every type of deer deterrent, from fencing to rattling scarecrows to foul smelling rotten egg sprays (homemade or store bought), complete with all the pros and cons of each. As an example, you might have heard that scented bars of soap hanging from trees can deter deer from feasting on tasty garden flowers and greens. But did you know that it takes 450 bars of soap per acre to be effective? And that these same bars of soap can actually attract rodents?

Well, maybe after reading all of that, you want to try planting known deer-resistant plants. Here are a few that I have personal experience with that do well in and around Lyons, Colorado. (The book includes every area of the country.) If your garden is near a natural area, be especially careful to plant only native plants, OR if you plant non-native plants, chose only non-invasive species.

Birch   (Betula spp.)
Catalpa   (Catalpa spp.)
Douglas Fir   (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
Spruce   (Picea spp.)

Forsythia   (Forsythia spp.)
Juniper   (Juniperus spp.)
Lilac    (Syringa vulgare)
Oregon Grape   (Mahonia spp.)
Spirea   (Spirea spp.)

Ajuga   (Ajuga spp.)
Snow-in-summer   (Cerastium spp.)
Thyme   (Thymus spp.)
Wild Strawberry   (Fragaria spp.)

Clematis   (Clematis spp.)
Grape   (Vitis spp.)
Trumpet Creeper   (Campsis radicans)
Virginia Creeper   (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
Wisteria   (Wisteria sinensis)

Daffodil   (Narcissus spp.)
Grape Hyacinth   (Muscari spp.)

Cosmos   (Cosmos bipinnatus)
Marigold   (Tagetes spp.)
Poppy   (Papaver spp.)
Salvia   (Salvia spp.)
Snapdragon   (Antirrhinum spp.)
Sunflower   (Helianthus spp.)
Sweet Alyssum    (Lobularia maritima)

Beardtongue   (Penstemon spp.)
Beebalm   (Monarda spp.)
Blanketflower   (Gaillardia spp.)
Black-eyed Susan   (Rudbeckia spp.)
Cinquefoil   (Potentilla spp.)
Columbine   (Aquilegia spp.)
Coreopsis   (Coreopsis spp.)
Gentian   (Gentiana spp.)
Iris   (Iris spp.)
Lupine   (Lupinus spp.)
Phlox (Phlox spp.)
Poppy   (Papaver spp.)
Russian Sage   (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
Santolina   (Santolina spp.)
Violet   (Viola spp.)
Wild Buckwheat   (Eriogonum spp.)

Catmint   (Nepeta x faassenii)
Chives   (Allium schoenoprasum)
Coneflower   (Echinacea spp.)
Hyssop   (Hyssopus officinalis)
Lavender   (Lavandula spp.)
Mints   (Mentha spp.)
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Sage, garden   (Salvia officinalis)
Thyme   (Thymus spp.)
Yarrow   (Achillea spp.)

Some of these stronger smelling herbs like sage and thyme can be planted amongst other plants in your garden that deer are eating, to help cover up their appeal and deter deer from dining there.

I highly recommend this book if deer are an issue in your garden and you want to learn more.

Hart, Rhonda Massingham, 2005, Deerproofing Your Yard & Garden, Storey Publishing, MA.