How to keep deer from eating your landscape plants

Deer and other wildlife aren't so adorable when they are treating your landscape like it's a salad bar.

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Yes, seeing deer and other wildlife on your property can be delightful. But not when these lovely animals are eating the prized plants in your yard and garden. When deer treat your carefully cultivated landscape like it’s a salad bar, it’s time act. To keep deer from eating your landscape plants, you need to do something–and fast.

A new generation of deer and wildlife control products is now available that keep deer and other critters away—without using harsh chemicals. From ultrasonic devices to innovative repellents to dependable fencing, here are some of the best ways to keep hungry deer from lunching in your garden.

Use the scent of a predator to repel deer

Summit Deer BanSummit® Deer BanTM repellent capsules keep deer from eating your 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 Ban 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 Ban 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 Ban because the polymer gel needs to absorb water to activate the odor of the active ingredient. This biodegradable product 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 www.SummitResponsibleSolutions.com.

Solar-powered, motion-activated pest control

Here’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 https://bird-x.com/bird-products/electronic/solar/solar-yard-gard/ and fine hardware stores.

Systemic repellent keeps deer and rabbits away from plants

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.


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 plant’s 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 about $18 or a bottle of 50 pre-measured Repellex® Systemic tablets sells for $20 at home centers, garden center stores and online at www.repellex.com.   

Fence the deer out

To keep deer from eating landscape plants, a trusty fence in probably the longest-lasting solution. 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 www.deerbusters.com.

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′.

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