Deer hunting season is upon us, but those of us living in southern Michigan will not get much respite from deer damage to our landscape plants. Because 90 percent of the land in southern Michigan is privately owned and more densely populated, the number of deer harvested in this area will likely not even account for the number of deer born here in the past year.
The number of deer per square mile will continue to rise as it has each year for the last 15 years. So if you had any problem with deer damage last year, you are very likely to the same experience in 2010. Here are some deer control ideas:
Deer fence. There is only one deer control product that guarantees protection from deer damage. That is an 8-foot-tall plastic-netting deer fence professionally installed. They are very expensive, and you need to establish gates, including one on the driveway. For more information go to www.bennersgardens.com.
If you do not have a deer fence, then you will need a combination of deer-control products to have any hope for success. Here is a list of the deer-related products.
Electric fence. The battery- or solar-powered electric fence kits are effective in protecting a vegetable garden or flower garden. To learn more, go to www.fishock.com.
Repellents. Applied properly and frequently enough, repellents can protect a single plant or group of plants from attack by deer. They are not practical for protecting the whole yard or even a large garden. We have tried many deer repellents and have found Plantskydd to be the most reliable and effective.
Battery-powered deer zappers. This is a device on a stake. On the top are small wires that give a deer a good electric shock on his nose. It has a strong pheromone lure inside the hot wires to cause the deer to stick his nose down to the zapper. One or two of these products are effective in protecting an individual plant you want to save. The battery works for eight months. Learn more at www.wirelessdeerfence.com.
Scarecrow spritzer. Attached to your garden hose, this device on a stake has a motion detector. When it spots motion, it spritzes water out 30 feet. The noise of the sprinkler and the contact from the water will definitely cause a deer to go away. It’s effective for a modest garden or a flower bed. Check out www.scatmat.com.
Fishing line. If your yard is surrounded by trees, you can string 30-pound test monofilament fishing line around the periphery, secured at about 36 to 40 inches off the ground. A deer can’t see it, but when it touches it, it jumps back and goes someplace else. The line can’t protect against deer coming in by the driveway or other entrances.
You can find a complete discussion about everything you need to know about controlling deer in my website http://yardener.com