Got deer? Here’s how to keep them from eating your landscape plants

deer eating flowers webWhen seen on Facebook, pictures of deer and other wildlife can be adorable. But in the real world, wildlife can be a destructive nuisance—especially when wild animals damage carefully cultivated landscape plants. That’s when deer control becomes important.

What do you do when Mother Nature’s creatures start treating your yard like it’s a salad bar? How can you protect your yard without harming the creatures of the wild?

A new generation of deer and wildlife control products is now available. From systemic repellents and ultrasonic devices to all-natural deterrents and deer fencing, here are some useful approaches to keep hungry deer from munching on your landscape and garden plants.


Systemic repellent keeps deer and rabbits away from plants

Repellex Systemic Granular webIt’s frustrating when deer and rabbits treat your landscape like it’s a giant salad bar. Fortunately, there is a solution made from natural ingredients that won’t harm animals or the environment. Repellex® Systemic Granular is a patented formula that delivers a hot pepper concentrate through plant roots, making the plants unpalatable to animals. Because the active compound is protected inside the plant cells, it doesn’t wash off in the rain or degrade in sunlight. Efficacy is greatly improved because the long-lasting compound maintains its potency and is evenly distributed throughout the plant.

Perhaps the best part is there’s no need for messy mixes and stinky sprays. Just rake the granular product in the soil around the plants you want to protect. The repellent compound dissolves during watering and enters through the roots, spreading gradually throughout the plant. The natural pepper extract is distributed evenly throughout the plant, so that all parts remain protected. Depending on the health and size of the plant, this can take as little as a week or as long as a month. (A foliar spray may be used during this period for plant protection.)

Repellex® Systemic Granular is not intended to be used on edible plants, and the product is not available to consumers in California. A 1.5-pound container of Repellex® Systemic Granular sells for $17.99 or a bottle of 50 pre-measured Repellex® Systemic tablets sells for $19.99 at local home centers, garden center stores and online at


Solar-powered, motion-activated pest control

solar-yard-gard-webHere’s a high-tech way to keep deer and other pest animals out of your yard without using poison or traps. The Solar Yard Gard is a solar-powered ultrasonic pest control device that uses sound waves to keep deer, squirrels, raccoons, rodents, skunks and other animals away from your valuable landscape plants. Humans can’t hear the high-frequency sound emitted by the Solar Yard Gard, but animals hear it and keep away.

Just set up the device in a sunny area. The ultrasonic waves are activated when the motion detector senses an animal. When pest animals activate the Solar Yard Gard, the ultrasonic waves irritate and annoy them so they seek calmer, untreated areas. One device will protect up to 3,000 square feet of landscape. Simply use additional units for larger areas. Not only does the safe, easy-to-use Solar Yard Gard protect plants, but it helps prevent the spread of ticks that can carry Lyme disease. The Solar Yard Gard sells for $49 at and fine hardware stores. For more information call (800) 662-5021.


Use the scent of a predator to repel deer

Deer Ban webSummit® Deer BanTM repellent capsules keep deer from eating flowers and other landscape plants by tricking deer into thinking that a predator is nearby. Each Deer BanTM capsule contains predator urine that triggers a deer’s animal flight response.

Deer BanTM uses a unique gel-tablet application to provide 100% effective, year-round protection from wildlife damage. Just set out the capsules on the ground every 5 to 10 feet around the plants you want to protect. Then water the capsules to release the active ingredient for up to 90 days of protection. When activated by water, the polymer gel releases the scent of predator urine, which keeps deer away. Deer BanTM is odorless to humans, and your hands never touch the active ingredient. There’s no messy spraying, and no mixing or measuring.

Unlike many deer repellents that wash away and become inef­fective after rain, water actually enhances the effectiveness of Deer BanTM because the polymer gel needs to absorb water to activate the odor of the active ingredient. The biodegradable Deer BanTM will continue to be reactivated by rain or watering for up to three months.

Summit® Deer BanTM is available in packages of 20, 50 and 150 capsules at fine hardware stores, garden centers and online at Summit Responsible Solutions also makes Mosquito Dunks®, Mosquito Bits®, and Summit® Year-Round® Spray Oil and other pest control products.


Fence the deer out

Tenax deer fence webThe longest-lasting solution to a deer problem is sometimes a trusty fence. Tenax fencing features thick rounded tensile strands that will resist the stretching and sagging that may occur with time in similar fence material. Tenax deer fencing has a breaking load of 650 pounds and a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. A 100-foot-long roll of 8-foot-tall plastic mesh fencing sells for about $135 on

Fence kits are also available that include everything needed to assemble a basic enclosure around a garden or property, including one roll of weather-resistant fencing, heavy duty line posts, and the ties and stakes to secure the fence to the posts and the ground. Use this kit to make a small enclosure, add to an existing fence, or combine this kit with another kit to create the installation that works best for you. Poly fence kits are available in heights of 6′, 7.5′, and 8′, and lengths of 100′, 300′, and 330′.