Deer don’t care for new experiences. Rotating your deer-deterrent tactics can help prevent deer from catching on to how you are trying to keep them away. Rainbow Gardens has found that what appears to work best is to first only buy plants from deer resistant lists (from us, of course). Next, employ several deer-deterring scare tactics that can assault the deer in all of its five senses: smell, sight, taste, sound, and touch. Today’s blog gives you ideas for scare tactics that just might help your gardens and landcape stay deer clear!


5 Scare Tactics to Deter Deer:



Use a “smell” scare tactic to deter deer. There’s a world of recipes on the internet for making your own deer-repellent concoctions from hot pepper and/or garlic sprays, to other pungent recipes that often people swear by. We say if it works for you, it works for you. Try out a few recipes and see what works best on the herd of deer that visit your landscape. Commercial deer-deterrents like Liquid Fence are options too. Be sure you read all labels to check if/when to reapply and to check for rainfastness. For other smelly tactics to deter deer, you can try hanging bars of soap from trees, hanging human in hair nylon stockings around the garden (collect it in bulk from beauty parlors and barber shops), animal fur, and blood meal applied as a top dressing around plants.


Use a “sight” scare tactic to deter deer. Have a dog? Startle the deer by letting your dog out the door to chase them away. No dog? Keep deer suspicious with changing the activity they see at your home. Flood them with a flash of bright lights, hang scraps of metal or aluminum pie pans that will suddenly glint in the sun. dAgain, the key is to change up your scare tactics or the deer becomes immune to them. A stagnant scarecrow won’t do the trick.


Use a “touch” scare tactic to deter deer. A well-timed sprinkler spray could send a deer at least to the neighbor’s yard and maybe even further. A string of heavy fishing line about  2’ high around the perimeter of your garden could surprise the deer and give it the heebie-jeebies when it feels something weird but can’t see what it is. (Try to remember you put it there so you don’t use your scare tactic on yourself!)


Use a “sound” scare tactic to deter deer. Any odd sound a deer hears is reason enough for them to skedaddle. Those pie pans you strung together for the “sight” scare tactic might also work for the “sound” scare tactic, as they clang together. Other options are tin cans clattering in the wind, your own voice yelling “Scat!” when you catch the offending deer in action, dogs barking, or radios playing. When you change tactics up often, any of them can work for awhile. 


Use a “taste” scare tactic to deter deer. Deer choose what plant they are going to munch on from taste, teaching and habit. If you plant delicious tasting plants, deer will keep coming back to the source for more. Plant distasteful options and a deer will most likely move on. Further your attack by dousing your plants with the sprays made of hot pepper, garlic, rotten egg spray, soapy bathwater, or any other foul-tasting concoction to deter deer. A number of commercial products are available at both of our Rainbow Gardens locations.

 ~The Happy Gardener


For more info on deer related issues see our blogs: