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Oh, deer: How to keep intruder out of your garden

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ATHOME-DEER-GARDEN-DMT

There are things you can do to defend your garden from these hungry, four-legged intruders.

Nibbled day lilies, stomped-out azaleas, a bitten-off plantain lily — gardeners know the signs of a visit from a deer. They can spell disaster for backyard plants. But there are things you can do to defend your garden from these hungry, four-legged intruders.

Here are the four best ways to keep deer out of your yard and away from your garden:

Deer-resistant plants

Deer tend to avoid plants with strong odors, fuzzy foliage, bitter tastes or prickly thorns. Deer-resistant plants include herbs, echinacea, lantana, rudbeckia, yarrow, juniper, boxwoods and yucca plants.

That being said, deer will eat nearly anything if they are hungry enough. If you want to keep these herbivores out of your garden, there are other measures you will need to take.

Deer-repelling products

Deer repellent may be necessary if you get frequent visits. The key to getting results is consistency. While you will only need to spray repellent on your non-deer-resistant plants, you will need to re-spray once per week, or as often as necessary to see results.

Most repellents keep deer from eating your plants by providing odor and taste deterrents and are made up of putrefied eggs, dried blood, garlic and soaps.

Scare tactics

Scarecrows, wind chimes, motion-activated sprinklers — don't be afraid to employ the occasional scare tactic. Deer are often scared away by things they do not recognize, so anything with an unusual shape or that makes an unusual sound is perfect for warding them away.

Motion-activated sprinklers can harmlessly spray toward any motion they pick up, sending deer skittering away from your flowers.

Fencing

No one wants to fence up a garden. But if all else fails, a fence may be necessary to ward off deer. A garden deer fence needs to be tall, as deer can leap over 8-foot fences easily. If that sounds less than ideal, there are other methods.

Deer do not like to walk over uneven, large rocks. Creating a perimeter of rocks can guard your garden from deer just as well as most fences. Deer also do not like to jump over something if they cannot see to the other side, so opaque walls can be shorter than see-through deer fences. You can also create two separate perimeters of short fences to make the deer feel that leaping into your garden would leave them trapped.

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