(ARA) - Manners are lovely, but they just don't cut it when it comes to preventing pesky deer from foraging in your foliage!
Imagine this: You spend hundreds of dollars on loading your landscape with beautiful blooms, and you've spent months installing trees, shrubs and flowers just exactly how you want it. Then, maybe even without any warning, you wake up one morning and it's ruined or worse -- it's gone!
Spring is the time of year that deer damage is most noticeable, particularly as plants awake from months of being dormant and prepare to bloom. Homeowners are seeing deer in their neighborhoods that they've never seen before. Wide open spaces are quickly being replaced with huge developments, new homes and loads of new gardens. Deer are literally moving in, living and eating -- right in your back yard.
From a distance deer may be beautiful, graceful even adorable animals, but at night they become garden bandits, flossing their teeth on the rose bushes while snacking through your snapdragons and shrubs enjoying a free meal. So, how do you begin a spring-through-summer-season-plan to protect your gardens and trees from foraging deer? First, you have to understand the basics.
Deer prefer to feed in open areas near cover. Parks and suburban neighborhoods are the perfect habitat, where rich mixtures of vegetation produce abundant food and cover; open lawns, succulent summer gardens and plentiful ornamental shrubs where patches of trees and brushes provide cover.
Deer opt for variety over quantity, and they prefer tender new shoots and lush foliage, which they find in abundance in your landscaped yards and gardens.
Damage to landscape plantings and ornamentals may occur at any time of year, but it's most disheartening when established plants are hearty and in full display. You can determine deer damage caused to plants by the ragged, broken ends of branches of plants and trees that have been browsed through by deer. Deer do not have incisor teeth and the damage they do is easily spotted. The height the damage is found -- up to six feet -- off the ground is another indication that rules out smaller animals and points to deer damage.
Disrupt the deer's sense of security and you've achieved the primary tool for turning them away. Deer have good memories and learn from each other. When one is "turned off" to an area, others will be reluctant to enter it as well.
Numerous remedies are available to convince deer to leave your garden alone. Some, like fencing, may be effective but expensive. Others can damage the environment. Still others don't work at all or smell so bad humans can't bear them either. For optimum results, consider an organic alternative. Courtesy of ARAcontent