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Deer Are Eating my Tulips

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
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by comfrey on March 28, 2006 11:57 AM
I "HAD" looked forward to seeing my enlarged tulip bed bloom this year. I plant for effect (meaning I plant the bulbs too close and it looks wonderful when they are all blooming). A herd of about 10 deer maybe more have been frequenting the 1 acre of land between my garden and the neighbors garden. But apparently they have been in my yard at night. Most of the buds of my tulips have been chompped off and alot of the leaves also, some of the bulbs have been pulled up and left laying on the ground. What can I do to save my tulip bed????? The bed is about 4'x 20' and in the front yard near the gravel road. Oh and I live out in the country. Before I enlarged this bed I had no problem with the deer, but there weren't 10 or more hanging out around here either.

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by obywan59 on March 28, 2006 01:00 PM
Try hot pepper spray. I've been spraying my azaleas and rhododendrons once a month since mid fall, and I have noticed no new deer damage since then.

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Terry

May the force be with you
by Patty S on March 28, 2006 01:12 PM
Doggone it anyway, Comfrey [Frown] I can relate! I love watching the deer here... they come through daily (& nightly), but I have to chase them out of my yard when I see them, because I know they're looking for a snack.

The ONLY sure-fire way to save your flower beds, I'm sorry to say, is a FENCE! Last year, after trying every trick in the book, I stopped trying to "repel" them & bought wire fencing & surrounded my Lillies & Rose bushes with it. It didn't look as nice as it would have without the fencing, but at least I could enjoy my flowers!

Hair works (Deer don't like hair in their food any more than we do) but you just about have to cover them with hair the same way you would use Angel hair on Christmas trees (thick).... & that looks as bad as a fence! (maybe worse!)

Sorry I don't have a better answer for you! (I'll bet that tulip bed would have been lovely!) [flower]

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by comfrey on March 29, 2006 01:26 AM
Well fence around the flowers might work, But it is too late for anything now for everything that was about to bloom. I had one blooming yesterday and today half of the flower bed has been wiped out, no blooms or buds anywhere. [tears] [Eek!] Fences do not keep the deer out though, my veggie garden is fenced and most of my yard is also fenced, and I have had deer in my garden before. I do love watching the deer, but not at the expense of my plants. I might give the pepper spray a try, esp for the things that are coming up just in case. The neighbor doesn't even have a fence around their garden, so I am watching to see the deer in their garden

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by pagarden on March 29, 2006 02:26 AM
we use the fallen walnuts and a slingshot. problem is- i have to hit them directly or they just look at me like "yea, what is your problem?" i've used a bird net draped over my pepper plants- (they seem to love those) and that saved them last year. and a homemade hot pepper spray. i just have to make that fairly often which is why the bird net came in handy.
by Longy on March 29, 2006 11:57 AM
Animals don't like the smell of fish fertiliser. Neither do i actually. So if you give the plants a weak weekly dose of fish fert, it may help. Add a cup of urine to the mix. A natural territorial marker. It can work for possums and sometimes kangaroos. (Unless there's a drought when they'll eat anything.)

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The secret is the soil.
by pagarden on March 29, 2006 09:41 PM
oh- i'll have to check the nursery for fish fertilizer. i've been meaning to get over there anyhow.
by obywan59 on March 29, 2006 10:13 PM
Pagarden, do you have cats around? A couple of years ago my cats dug up a moonflower vine that I had just watered with a liquid fish fertilizer.

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Terry

May the force be with you
by comfrey on March 29, 2006 11:31 PM
My mother said there is some sort of spray you can buy at the feed /farm supply store, It is some kind of deer repellant. But it is too late for my tulips this year, Now they have started eating the iris leaves.

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by pagarden on March 30, 2006 12:48 AM
oh man- i didn't think of the cat "side effect" LOL. actually no though- our cats are indoor cats and i very rarely see loose cats around here.
by The Plant Doc on April 01, 2006 12:00 AM
The key to using any type of scent repellent to keep deer away is to change it frequently (at least once every couple of weeks). This keeps the deer on edge and wary of the area. Hot pepper spray works well, but can be dangerous to use. There are a couple of other products on the market that work very well without the danger.
Ropel, and Tree Gard. I think I would lean to using Ropel on flowers. Its main ingredient is called Bitrex, supposedly the world’s most bitter substance. It goes on clear and dries that way. Use rubber gloves when applying, so you don't get any residue on your hands, and even so, make sure that you wash your hands very well when done. You do NOT want to get this stuff in your mouth, unless you wanna try winning America's Funniest Home Videos! If you do, water will not help, but the one thing that does work is eating Hershey milk chocolate. For some reason other brands do not work as well at removing the horrible taste. Oh yeah, don't use this stuff on veggies or fruit! [Big Grin] I have seen some brain surgeons do that one.

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Mike Maier
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The Plant Doc
by comfrey on April 04, 2006 12:10 AM
I was told that using bar soap shavings around and in the flower bed would work, Also to get some Ivory dish soap and put 2 tablespoons full into a gallon of water and spray the plants, that I want to keep the deer away from, of course every time it rains I would need to reapply this or every few weeks if no rain...So the scent thing is the key to keeping the deer at bay.

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by JerseyHeidi on April 27, 2006 06:49 AM
I find that if I'm dilligent about the spray at the beginning of the growing season, the deer get the message and don't come back. They do "learn". I've had success in my veggie garden keeping them away with black mesh netting right over the top of the WHOLE bed. And, as for tulips, may I suggest you try daffodils instead, which deer don't like.
by The Plant Doc on April 29, 2006 04:34 PM
Leslie just came up with a though that it was too bad that you could not put a mouse trap inside the beds and scare the deer with that. I thought about it for a second and had an idea.
Try taking multiple mouse traps (the more the better) and tie them together with some thread or very light test fishing line. Set them as it is getting dark, but do not bait them. (this way you won't catch any small animals) Set the string of traps about 18 inches out from the tulips, just about where youthink the deer will be standing when they bend over to munch on your garden. Chances are they will step on one. They have hard hoves so it should not hurt them at all, but them setting off the one should startle them enough to pull his or her foot back, which would make the rest of the traps go off each with a loud snap. Do this a few nights in a row, and I bet the deer get spooked enough to not come back.

Another way of keeping them away is by using the black plastic bird netting, but don't pull it tight, leave it loose. The deer won't see it as they look thru it, and the feeling of something they can't see freaks them out.

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Mike Maier
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The Plant Doc
by Pat G on May 05, 2006 08:10 AM
I'll be planting my vegetable garden Mother's Day weekend and I've got a question about keeping the deer out. My garden bed has been fenced with plastic "chicken wire" material. I intend to use the same faux chicken wire over the top of the existing fencing. I selected this material because it was light weight, easy to handle and I won't cut myself bloody while trying to get in and out of the garden. Will this stuff be enough of a deterrent or do I need repellant, mousetraps, etc. in addition? Thanks for your help, everyone!
by Tbean on June 05, 2006 02:22 AM
A few years ago I found this recipe:

http://www.whyy.org/91FM/ybyg/deer.html

It really works, the oasis is rather odd looking, makes a great conversation piece, but you can place it where it's not too conspicuous.
by The Plant Doc on June 06, 2006 04:12 PM
I have some good recipe's for venison, that I would be willing to share! [grin]

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Mike Maier
aka
The Plant Doc
by RuMark on June 19, 2006 10:55 AM
Try using the green garden posts, put them in the ground about 6 feet apart. Run fishing line or very thin wire through the pools. The deer cannot see the line or wire, when they touch it they back off. I have not lost one plant since we set this up in all of our gardens. I am new and not sure of what I am doing, this may be a duplicate message [grin]

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