Gardening with Deer | wltx.com

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Deer can destroy a garden in just one night, and new gardeners may not realize their plants are at risk until they are too late. This is how we keep the deer out.

COLUMBIA, SC – Deer can destroy a garden in just one night, and new gardeners may not realize their plants are at risk until they are too late. These calm animals are not afraid of people. Despite the hustle and bustle outside of WLTX, deer are one of the biggest problems for plants in our garden. Occasionally they go out for months without disturbing our garden, but it only takes one feeding to do a lot of damage.

There are a few plants that are really “deer candy”. Leafy edible vegetables like lettuce, pansies, and sunflowers are irresistible to a hungry deer. The deer ate all of our Malabar spinach seedlings. Fortunately, the plants are sprouting again despite being pulled out of the ground. Our pansies and lettuce were already struggling with the heat. The deer feeding ended the season for this one. The deer enjoyed the French beans too, but left enough of the plant for the possibility of returning.

Many fragrant plants are generally avoided by deer. The animals didn’t care about our parsley plants and even ignored the pansies that grow under the pansies. Lantana, daffodils, and sage are also usually untouched by deer. Some of our ornamental plants such as cannas, bananas, ginger and palm trees do not bother the deer either. Unfortunately, the cannas are very susceptible to damage from Japanese beetles, so these plants are not completely pest free. So far, zinnias are proving to be a fantastic yearbook that the deer haven’t bothered.

Deer droppings are pebbly, dark, and usually clump in a pile. This is one way of realizing that there is a deer problem. If deer are spotted in the neighborhood and there are no leaves in the landscape, the chances are that deer are to blame. Any plant can be turned into deer food.

RELATED: Experimenting With Deer-Resistant Plants in Gandy’s Garden (May 2020)

There are many products on the market that use fragrances to keep deer away. It is difficult to prove its effectiveness because deer in our garden at WLTX come and go by chance. There are very few things that deer will not eat that are not also toxic to humans.

The only way to keep deer out forever is with a fence that’s at least eight feet high, but at Gandy’s Garden we use bird nets as a much cheaper alternative. The net is attached to the ground with landscape pins and supported with metal posts. The holes in the net must be large enough for the pollinators to move around freely. It should be adjusted every few days so it doesn’t distort new leaves that are growing nearby. It’s not a perfect solution, but it worked for us!