An Understanding of Behavior
It may seem as if the deer are just out to destroy our gardens but in fact all they are trying to do is survive. The White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) have become overpopulated in many areas only due to us humans. We have moved in, made ourselves at home, and expect the deer to not become a nuisance.
We ask ourselves why my garden when there is plenty of natural vegetation for them to forge on. Yes, your garden does taste better. We put pretty flowers with flavor in them, but more importantly it has higher nutritional value and moisture content. As the summer moves on the natural vegetation becomes tough and lacks moisture making the plants harder to digest.
As with humans the deers diet is everything! It affects growth, bearing fawns, and even the growth of antlers in bucks. Because we use compost and fertilizers, our cultivated and well-watered perennial beds are higher in nitrogen and moisture which are much needed elements of a deer’s survival.
Getting upset will not solve the problem — they are just trying to survive the best they can. But I have found a common deer spray from a local garden center will do the trick. All-natural Liquid Fence is my spray of choice. While having an almost unbearable smell at first when it dries, it’s odorless and will last for months. I do repeat application every few weeks, just in case! My prize Big Daddy Hosta is planted within a few feet of the bird feeder (a deer attractor) and has been untouched for years thanks to Liquid Fence.
Humans and even barking dogs will do nothing to deter deer as both have become ‘normal’ to them over the years. There are other ways to prevent the deer from eating your garden. Fencing would be the best bet but it can be unsightly. Another is choosing deer-proof plants. But truthfully, if the deer are hungry, or young and don’t know any better, they will nibble your buds before you ever get to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
‘Deer-Proofing Your Yard and Garden’, a book Hammertown has been selling for years, better explains the behavior of the deer along with tips and tricks of saving your garden. As a gardener, thinking I knew everything, I didn’t think I had any use for it but decided to pick it up and read. Within a few pages I was totally fascinated and now have a heart and a better understanding of the White Tailed Deer.
SPEAKING OF DEER…THE BAMBI’S ARE OUT AND ABOUT. CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND A BABY FAWN.