For houses located in the foothills or mountains, seeing deer can be a normal part of home life.  As beautiful as deer are, the damage they create to your lawn and trees can be costly. Learning how to keep deer from eating your plants can be a trial and error process with no easy solutions.

Deer will eat pretty much anything but especially,

  • flower bulbs
  • small trees
  • perennials

This can drive a home owner crazy.  Although deer are extremely hard to deter from a property here are some ideas to experiment with.

The first thing to try are deer repellents.  The problem with deer repellents is that they all have mixed reviews.  Here is a list of repellents to try:

  • blood meal
  • deer repellant
  • fox, coyote, or wolf urine
  • home made deer repellent recipes

Simply sprinkle/spray any of the above around the area you want to protect and re-apply after rain or snow. Where you live will make some of these remedies more effective then others.

Daffodils can keep deer away – members of the Amaryllis family, which includes daffodils, snowflakes and snowdrops, are truly deer proof and rodent proof. They contain a bitter, poisonous substance called lycorine that no mammal will eat. The other bulbs in the list below are unpleasant to deer or rodents or both. Deer or rodents will generally avoid them – but might take a bite if the plants are directly in their path or starvation gives the animals no alternative.

All daffodils are deer and rodent proof!

Cultural practices can help. Planting certain species of plants can act as a natural barrier around the plants that you wish to protect.

There is a large list of perennials, ground cover, and shrubs that deter deer and many of them look good too.

  • Bleeding heart
  • Daffodils
  • Siberian iris
  • Foxglove
  • Bluebeard
  • Ferns
  • Boxwood
  • Russian Sage

For a more comprehensive list

Another idea is to build a fence.  It should be at least 8 to 10 feet high to keep out the most aggressive deer.  This would be the most laborious way to keep out deer but would also be the only 100% sure to work method.

Deer don’t like plants that have stickers or spiny, fuzzy bitter or smelly elements on it.  While plants such as corn, strawberries, raspberries, peas, lettuce, broccoli, day-lilies, clematis, roses tulips, are are deer favorites.

Tactics have mixed results depending on how desperate deer are for food. When hungry they will eat nearly anything but under plentiful circumstances are picky eaters. The current drought and resultant food shortage has attracted more deer into suburban areas.

Let us know what has worked for you!