As attractive and graceful as deer are in the wild, they can wreak havoc in cultivated Dutchess County, NY backyards. We're here to the rescue to make sure you keep the usually-friendly deer away from your property.
1. Don't Attract Deer!
One way to keep deer out of your backyard is to use only plants that deer find unattractive, that is nothing that will draw deer into your outdoor spaces in the first place. Tough shrubs, such as boxwood, tend not to interest deer and poisonous plants like daffodils, foxgloves and poppies are avoided by deer because of their toxicity. Deer will also generally stay away from anything with thorns, although hungry deer will eat just about anything.
As rule of thumb, deer love most soft sprouting flowers and conifer trees. They are particularly fond of azaleas, crocus, euonymus rhododendron, tulips, and hemlock, as well as thuja arborvitae. Keeping these plants far out of your backyard will reduce the chances deer being drawn.
Fallen acorns are also attractive to deer, but before you chop down that one hundred year old oak, consider that the more acorns the deer eat scattered around your backyard, the less likely they are to eat your prized tulips! And of course, there are still ways to deter the deer from coming near those acorns.
2. Deter them away.
Deer have an acute sense of smell so they’ll avoid plants with overpowering scents such as thyme, oregano, chives, mint, dill, garlic, and lavender. Planting these scattered amongst your flowers are likely to keep deer out of the flowerbeds.
On the same basis, hanging strongly scented soap from the low branches of trees also works, particularly for fruit trees that you’d like to keep protected. Be sure to pick a soap that is pungent, but eco-friendly. These will wash away over time, so remember to replace them regularly. Alternatively, there are plenty of artificial deer repellents available on the market in the form of dust and sprays.
And finally, of course, the best way to keep the deer out is with a fence or a dense hedge. Keep in mind that if you're going with privacy fencing, the most challenging (and important part) is to blend the fence in with the environment so it doesn't stick out so much. So in other words, landscape design of the plantings is essential!
Depending on how much of a deer problem you have, you may need to combine some of the items here. If you're not quite sure what combination, we're here to help, contact us!