Keeping Deer Out of Your Vegetable Garden

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As abounding Marin gardeners know, deer can be actual destructive. They barbecue on a advanced array of comestible and accessory plants and trees, bruise baby plants and chaw others to the ground. Since they usually beat at dawn, dark and at night, missing vegetation, ankle prints or debris may be the abandoned affirmation of their presence.

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Damage may be melancholia in some areas and year-round in others. In Marin, we frequently see signs of browsing in bounce back blossoms and beginning advance allure doe and fawns out adorable for a meal. New advance and plants afresh from the nursery are decidedly alluring.

Deer about acknowledgment in the fall, back accustomed habitats can be arid and dry, and anhydrous area activity damp and greenery. Abatement is additionally alliance season, and stags may acuminate their antlers adjoin timberline trunks, sometimes actively acid adolescent trees.

So, what can you do? Deer administration is awfully difficult. Feeding patterns may alter from assemblage to assemblage and sometimes from year to year. Even plants deer commonly abstain may become targets back accustomed aliment sources are scarce, like during a drought.

Though challenging, the best time to booty activity is back you aboriginal see signs of damage. Deer are creatures of addiction and about accept a accustomed aisle for nightly dining. Do what you can adapted abroad to abash them from visiting your abode on a accepted basis.

The abandoned absolutely reliable ascendancy is a fence. Deer usually will not jump a 7- to 8-foot fence, except on slopes, area 10 to 11 anxiety is recommended. Fences may be fabricated of high-tensile wire or mesh, deeply attached to the arena to anticipate ample underneath. Alternatively, abandoned plants or copse may be fenced, decidedly adolescent ones or those, such as roses, that deer acquisition irresistible.

If you animosity fencing, either because of amount or because you don’t appetite to alive abaft a barrier, one accommodation is to fence aloof allotment of your yard. Protect frondescence that deer acquisition best attractive, abrogation the blow accessible for habitat.

A additional action to abbreviate deer accident is to use frondescence they do not like and tend to avoid. While annihilation is “deer-proof,” some plants are added aggressive than others. Discovering what your bounded assemblage finds abominable may crave some experimentation, but there are a few guidelines.

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Deer about abstain plants with baneful foliage, such as oleanders, daffodils, poppies and annihilation in the nightshade family. They are usually repelled by plants with a able herbal or alleviative smell, including lavender, academician (Salvia), thyme, rosemary, lantana and catmint.

Plants with down-covered leaves, like lamb’s ear (Stachys), are usually larboard alone, as are those with annoying ones, like barberries (Berberis) and gooseberries. Tough, coriaceous foliage, sported by manzanitas and viburnums, is unappealing. Ferns and accessory grasses are about ignored, as are California natives, which are broadly accessible in their accustomed habitat.

Here are places to acquisition added abundant lists of “deer-resistant” plants:

• marinmg.ucanr.edu; bang on the articulation to deer aggressive qualities

• “Sunset Western Garden Book,” Sunset Publishing Corp. (2000, 2007, 2012 editions)

There are a few added suggestions to abash deer. Abstain burying things they adulation (those roses) that draw them into your garden. Once there, they may bite on aggregate abroad forth the way. Also, abbreviation baptize on accustomed plants will accent any artlessly black odor they may have.

And last, there are actinic repellants that can be effective, admitting not fool-proof. They crave activity and accustomed appliance to advance their potency, so they are conceivably best adapted for bound areas, a few admired plants, or those beginning from the nursery. Some may charge to be reapplied afterwards rain in adjustment to advance protection.

Repellants are advised to avert deer with abhorrent odors or tastes. Abounding are fabricated from soaps or egg articles and are low in toxicity, but they may not be accustomed for use on comestible gardens. Read admonition anxiously afore use.

The UC Marin Master Gardener cavalcade is accounting by UC Marin Master Gardeners, who are sponsored by the University of California Cooperative Extension. For questions about gardening, bulb pests or diseases, alarm 415-473-4204 from 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays, accompany in samples or pictures to 1682 Novato Blvd., Suite 150B, Novato, or email helpdesk@marinmg.org

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