Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Deer Protection Plan

Now by that title it sounds like I'm protecting the deer from who knows what.  But in fact I'm protecting the gardens from the deer.

This winter I read two books that have been my inspiration. 
Deer-Proofing Your Yard and Garden by Rhonda Massingham Hart
50 Beautiful Deer- Resistant Plants by Ruth Rogers Clausen

Based upon what I learned I have a 9 point plan.

1) Spray Liquid Fence regularly.
I started this last week on the emerging day lilies and will have to keep it up on a weekly basis as other deer favorite delicacies emerge.
In the autumn I will need to spray it on junipers to protect them from winter browsing.

2) Create a downed wood fence along the glen.
  It will be the first line of defense next to the plantings, then fishing line.  I started the fence last year and have been adding to a short section.  Saturday I had help building the last section though it will need to go taller over time.

3) Install a fishing line fence along the glen.
I purchased 20 lb. monofilament line to string from tree to tree about 2-3 feet off the ground.
Supposedly the deer won't see this but will feel it and back off.  If they are fleeing they may break it.  I'll have to take that chance.  Not sure how it will affect birds. I completed this task today.

4) Close off the west entrance to the backyard with an arbor and gate.
I purchased this arbor and gate from Plow and Hearth.  It will need to be installed and then planted on either side with bushes and flowers that deer don't like.  I'm thinking butterfly bush, black snakeroot, morning glory, and Russian sage.  The idea is that you block the deer's view into the yard and deter them with plants they don't like.

5) Close off east entrance to backyard.
No arbor here just plantings of ostrich fern, Russian sage, black snakeroot again to discourage them from investigating further what's beyond that they cannot see.

6) Remove hosta from under east window.
This is another possible entry point to the backyard and with the hosta there invitingly they will then move on into the backyard.  I hope to plant red hot poker, butterfly weed, in place of the hosta.  I will probably also have to remove a phlox which they love.

7) Interplant more ferns with the hosta I have along the glen edge.
The idea is to confuse them with the plants they don't like.

8) Protect English laurels with winter fencing.
These are evergreen bushes that the deer don't eat during the growing season but come winter with nothing else green they devour all the leaves.  For 2015-16 and beyond I'll fence the deer out.

9) Russian sage hedge
To discourage deer from entering the yard from the north I'll plant a Russian sage hedge that will direct them away since they can't stand the scent of Russian sage.

Here are some other photos.

This is the east entrance to the backyard.  Fishing line starts on nearest skinny trunk and goes to small beech tree then to the right.

Fishing line catching the sunlight is visible here.


Looking west out of the backyard.  Arbor and gate will close this off.

Standing at the west entrance to the backyard looking east.

Next part of this plan to complete is assembling the arbor and gate.


Fun60 said...

Wow Marcia it's like a military operation. I hope after all this work they get the message that they are not wanted in your garden.

Tigsy said...

That's sure a lot of work, but I think it'll be worth it. Makes me glad I don't have a deer problem, though!

Margaret Adamson said...

Wow! I never realised that Deer were such a problem however you certainly are taking measures to deter them. Now we wil have to wait tosee if these measures work.

Joyful said...

Looks like you have a lovely property. Sadly I know that country properties often have e]to deal with the deer problem if they want to keep a garden. Best of luck to you.

Jenny said...

Bravo! I love each and every step of your plan, especially fallen-log fence and fishline. I will have to try it on my garden!

Tom said...

And you forgot about having your shotgun handy. I love deer, but this year the damage around here was just awful. Tom The Backroads Traveller

Marcia said...

Tom - I'm not a gun owner but I have had my brother-in-law hunt with his cross bow, unsuccessfully.

Betsy Adams said...

I hope all of this works for you this year... We are not allowed to put fences or gates in our community (everything is OPEN) ---but I will say that with all of the flowers/plants we have, Liquid Fence when used regularly (and more often in spring/summer) works for us about 95% of the time.... Occasionally, the fawns will eat something --until they know better! However, we do spend quite a bit of money on our Liquid Fence. Since we've been using it regularly for about 6 or more years, every year seems to get a little better. They do like Hosta --so be sure and treat it regularly.... Good Luck.


Betsy Adams said...

Forgot to say that using human hair helps... The problem is that it blows away easily. Some people here put hair in something like panty hose and hang it around in areas where the deer visit... We have been planting hair with our new bulbs --and in other areas, putting it under the mulch.... We get hair FREE from my beauty shop lady.


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