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irishdancersgram

Deer eating my hostas, help!

irishdancersgram
14 years ago

I've never had this problem before but sure enough, the deer are snacking on my hostas....

Is there anything I can put on them or around them to keep the 4 legged friends away?

Comments (17)

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    14 years ago

    a 10 foot fence.. or armed guards ...

    or try the search function

    ken

  • just1morehosta
    14 years ago

    plant plastic flowers.
    cAROL

  • woodthrush
    14 years ago

    If you can't fence, cover the plant beds with bird netting until frost. Right now there is less and less nature food for them to eat so they will be invading the gardens.
    Pam

  • fayemo
    14 years ago

    Irishdancer,
    I live in zone 3b,northern MN. on a lake, in the woods. So I know about deer and the nuisance they can be.There are at least 10 plus deer living in a 2 mile area around me.
    I have luck with a product called DEER OUT. SO far this season I have not had any deer munch on my hosta. I have only sprayed twice since spring.
    I buy the product online. It smells minty so it is not obnoxious and it also lasts through rain. Give it a try.

  • dhaven
    14 years ago

    Your main problem here isn't actually the damage the deer are doing this fall. The problem is that deer are creatures of habit, and if they are allowed to continue to treat your garden as a hosta buffet this year, you can bet that they will be back first thing next spring to nip off all those tender, tasty hosta shoots. So you definitely want to stop the munching this fall if possible.

    Liquid Fence is very effective. You will need two applications about a week apart, and then it should last through the fall. It comes either in concentrate or premixed form, and the premixed bottle has it's own sprayer. The smell is horrendous for about 24 hours, then you won't notice it, but the deer definitely will. This is the most effective method for a larger garden.

    You can also take a bottle of Tabasco sauce, pour it in a microwaveable bowl and microwave it on high for one minute twice (don't do it for 2 minutes, it may 'pop'), and let it cool to room temperature. Once it is cool, add an egg white, mix thoroughly, and spray or dab it on your hostas. Use a spray bottle or brush that you are willing to throw away afterwards, because unless you clean it immediately and really thoroughly, it will be permanently ruined. This mixture won't hurt the plants, and once it dries it's effective for 4-6 weeks, depending on the weather. The microwaving hyperactivates the capsicum in the Tabasco, making it very hot, and the egg white is used to make the pepper sauce stick to the plants. This will also keep the rabbits from nibbling. For a smaller garden, this is very effective and easy. If you want to try this on a larger garden, it is possible to buy quart and half gallon bottles of hot pepper sauce for a very reasonable price at most oriental food stores. Do the microwaving in small batches, then add as many egg whites as necessary for the amount of pepper sauce used.

    Other deer deterrents include slivers of Irish Spring or any strongly scented soap scattered around the hostas. Use a vegetable peeler or a grater to get small pieces. Human or dog hair scattered in the area, wind chimes, Fortress deer repellant stakes, human or canine urine, and blood meal will also work. Most of these things are effective for a a couple of weeks up to about 6 months, then the deer acclimate and ignore them. Liquid Fence and the Tabasco mixture both work for years, with the deer never acclimating to either one.

    An eight foot fence is the most effective deterrent, but it has to be rather sturdy and built with wire that does not allow the deer to put their heads through the mesh. A large, sincere dog, or a small, noisy, determined dog will also work well. The best, or at least the funniest, anti-deer system that I've heard of is someone who put in a motion sensor and a self aiming water cannon!

  • woodthrush
    14 years ago

    Dhaven, you are right, they are creatures of habit. But you don't need an 8ft fence. You just need an obstacle to change their browsing path. We have 4ft chicken wire fence along the property line. The deer don't jump fences unless they are being chased. They just walk around the fence through the neighbor's yards. At night I just stretch it across the driveways to close them off too.
    Pam

  • tracyvine
    14 years ago

    We have deer that regularly travel through our yard. They used to leave it alone until I put in a new bed in the far portion of our yard. They took a liking to it last spring and decimated my lilies. I sprayed with Deer OFF and they left it alone from that point on through most of the summer and then came back in late August to snack on the echinaceas. I reapplied and they have since left the plants alone. I now treat the bed 2-3 times per season as a precaution/deterrent.

    Deer OFF is available at home improvement stores. Mine was a large gallon sprayer that came pre mixed, the price was around $26. Very handy for the large garden I was spraying. I have heard wonderful stories of the home made mixtures but they will need to be reapplied after rains.

    Our deer habitually have travel through our yard to visit a neighbor's yard that has a massive vegetable garden. A few weeks ago one came through with it's fawn. They both cleared a 3 1/2 foot fence plus higher shrubs to reach this garden. A simple leap and they were up and over without being at a run. I couldn't believe my eyes.

    Keep in mind that this is a garden that the deer have been visting for years. Now this mother was showing her young where to graze. It is a problem that will continue if not deterred right away.

  • dhaven
    14 years ago

    Woodthrush--Although your urban deer may not jump a 4 foot fence, the deer in my area have been casually leaping over 6 foot fences for years. I'm in a very agricultural area with lots of cattle fencing, so they are used to having to jump 4-5 foot fences on a daily basis. My 6 foot tall chain link kennel panels don't even slow them down. I've seen a 3 legged deer clear a 5 foot fence, and a mature adult can easily clear 7 feet. One of my shorter fence lines has an open 10 foot wide gate about 2/3 of the way down the line, and the deer never bother to use the gate, they prefer to jump the fence, which is 4 1/2 feet in that area. Deer that are wandering through a new area may avoid a 4 foot fence, but resident deer with well established routes will not.

    I agree that deer that are being chased will jump a fence that's less than 8 feet. They will also make repeated attempts to jump through a fence that is 8 feet tall, usually to the detriment of the fence.

    Tracyvine is right--a doe will show her fawns where the best browsing is to be found, and the fawns will add that location to their menu. It is important to try to stop this before your garden becomes an established dinner stop. Summer and fall damage is bad enough, but the amount of damage one hungry deer can do in the spring is truly appalling. And keep in mind that deer travel in herds, except for bucks during the rutting season.

  • cyn427 (z. 7, N. VA)
    14 years ago

    dhaven is right! Deer will easily jump fences even if they are high when they are made out of chicken wire or anything that allows them to see what is on the other side, but they won't jump a 6' solid fence that they can't see over/through.

  • woodthrush
    14 years ago

    Sure they can and will jump a fence, but not if they don't have to.
    I am in the woods, no hunting allowed, deer population is our development is over 500. lol - and I'm sure, they can see all the hosta in my yard and smell the oriental lilies through the chicken wire fence. All I'm saying is you can break their browsing habit. Even Tracy is breaking the browsing habit by using the spray. They find nothing to eat in her yard so they move on.
    Before we fenced, we'd have deer in the yard in the winter, that would stand on their hind legs to eat the tips of the lilacs and paw the snow to eat an entire holly or azalea bush right down to the ground.
    Now, this guy, he doesn't jump the fence, he just knocks it down and walks right over it.

  • User
    14 years ago

    My neighbors just erected a 7-foot wire fence on the back yard section of our property line (only), since there is a deer path through my garden to their yard. Their vegetable garden is surrounded by a 3.5 foot chicken wire fence that the deer ignore, lean over, and munch. This morning I watched a doe and her fawn grazing on the neighbors' veggies. When they had their fill of herbs and wanted to come into my yard to eat the coleus they walked up the neighbors' 5-foot timbered terrace, crossed my terrace garden, jumped down my 5-foot rock wall and waltzed into my yard. I'm pretty unconvinced that just interrupting their path is more than a detour.

    I've had them come onto my front porch to eat sweet potato vine and petunias from pots. Oddly, they leave almost all of my hostas alone except for the lancifoliia in spring, which they eat like lettuce.

    Fayemo, I just had to laugh when I read that "in the woods ... there are at least 10 plus deer living in a 2 mile area around me." I live about a mile and a half from Minneapolis and have counted more than 30 deer at one time in my suburban yard and neighboring lots (maybe an acre and a half area total) one day late last fall. Must have been a convention.

  • tracyvine
    14 years ago

    Pam, I'm thinking that a concrete wall wouldn't slow down that big boy too much. LOL! Did you end up finding any bear repellent for when you're out in the yard with him skulking about?

    OP, The point made by all of us, use whichever methods work best for you to deter the deer and break their grazing habits in your gardens. There are a lot of good suggestions here. Personally, I can't convince hubby to put fencing around the yard so that isn't an option for me. The Deer Off works well, doesn't smell so good when it's wet but is odorless when dry so it is a good solution for me.

    Break their habits and you will have happy plants for years to come. Be vigilant about reapplication if you choose to go this route. Do not run out and scare them off though, this time of year brings out some of the deers more aggressive traits.

  • irishdancersgram
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    WOW, you all have great stories to tell...I sure wouldn't like to have that bear visiting my garden....

    Thank you all for the great information...I did put old net curtains over some of the hostas until I'm able to get some Deer Gone....

    I love to see the deer, just not having a picnic in my garden...

    Thanks again.....

  • gardengirl_nancy
    14 years ago

    What worked for us this year was "Melorganite", not sure if that's how it is spelled, but that is how it sounds. A friend told us about it and we tried it, it works great. We put it in flowerbeds and all around the many hostas we have. The deer left everything alone, this has worked better than anything we have ever tried. Believe me we have tried it all. It's a fertilizer, but works as a deer repellent, we'll use it again next year. We did spread it around 3-4 times this year. Good luck!

  • artnsoul48
    5 years ago

    I noticed someone mentioned “Deer Out”. (Buy online) I have used this product for the last few years and it is AMAZING ! I have tried different sprays from garden stores but nothing works like this product. It will last for 3 mo. after spraying but I reply after rain. I also clothespin dryer sheets all around, they can’t stand the strong smell.

  • Roberta Stafford
    3 years ago

    Also use Deer Out but doesn’t last 3 months! I just sprayed 2 weeks ago & after the rain I was lazy...my hostas are GONE! It’s my fault- just have to spray more often!