One "deer resistant" plant is Hesperaloe parviflora or red yucca. Deer don't eat the leaves or blooms, but they seem to enjoy snapping the buds off. It's annoying, especially since they drop the pieces on the ground and walk away. What a waste!
When I saw the above damage last spring I decided it was time to consider a deer repellent. There are a number of home remedies which claim to deter deer from destroying plants in the garden. I am not interested in spreading human hair around the front yard and I think our urban deer are accustomed to human scent so a deer repellent was in order. We found deer repellent at an estate sale in the neighborhood for 75 cents which was a good deal for a test run. The product is called Hinder and according to the available information may be garlic oil mixed with soap. Very good choice because I still remember when my neighbor used coyote urine as a deer deterrent a few years ago and stank up the place something awful.
We mixed the Hinder in a spray bottle, carefully following package directions of course, and sprayed the bud stalks on the hesperaloe bloom stalks in the front yard.
Did it work? At first it seemed like the answer was no. Each morning we would find more bloom stalks snapped off.
This is what it should look like but rarely does.
After a few days of disappointment we revised that to a "maybe" when we realized that instead of continuing down the row and snapping all of the stalks off, the deer had quit after one or two. That's better.
After a few weeks of spraying something very good happened. More and more hesperaloe blooms appeared and the deer were leaving them alone.
These are the most blooms we have had at one time in years.
The deer were avoiding the blooms even with all the spring rain we'd had which made keeping the blooms treated a bit tricky. Deer develop habits and learn by taste what they like. So it seems once they tested and disliked the taste of hesperaloe blooms a few times, they crossed them off the list and moved on. We quit spraying and had no problems the rest of the season.
We also tried on on the Pride of Barbados in the backyard after we found a few snapped off by the deer. Same result. The deer eventually left them to fully bloom as well.
The results are in and the test was a success. There's a crop of new fawns this year which will have to be trained all over again in the spring.
That is great you had luck with that!! It is so hard. Too bad they don't read the books and don't know what they aren't supposed to like. And yes, the new babies will have to learn it all brand new. Much like Cooper over here.... lots of learning going on haha. Happy you are able to see the blooms on the Red Yuccas! They look beautiful!!ReplyDelete
The fawns are always testing plants on the "deer proof" list so we find odd plant damage this time of year as they taste test everything.Delete
I can imagine you are having to teach Cooper how to behave in the garden and at the shop.
Wow! I need to find some of this.ReplyDelete
I spray that stinky stuff on. But, just a light shower will wash it away. And, I'm not all that sure it works. Keeps people away, though...lol
I'll be looking for some of this. Thanks for sharing the advice.
Yes, the smell of garlic is much nicer that some of those products. I'm glad we found something cheap to start with.Delete
I don't have a deer problem, but I do have a raccoon problem. They are so destructive around my stream, so I can definitely commiserate on your despair over ruined blooms. Glad your solution seems to be working.ReplyDelete
Raccoons are a problem here too and they are so destructive knocking over pots on the deck.Delete
I've had good luck with Bobbex, but it is a little pricey for a large area. This week the deer took a couple of bites out of the big Donkey Ears Kalanchoe and ate the tops off the Sheffield Hardy Mums that are near my garage door (that has a light on all night). Now they'll both get moved to the fenced in back yard.ReplyDelete
I keep the kalachoes up on the deck and many plants are in a fenced area for just that reason.Delete
I definitely use deer repellent spray on all new plants for a couple of weeks. And when my softleaf yuccas bloom I usually spray them a few times too in hopes of keeping the bloom stalk from being eaten. It's not something I'm willing to do all year with any one plant, but used strategically it seems helpful. This reminds me to go spray my first oxblood lily out there.ReplyDelete
Good ideas, my yuccas might begin blooming next spring so I'll plan to spray them as well.Delete
I have had good success with sprinkling blood meal on plants, and also a homemade brew of egg, cayenne pepper, and a little dish detergent blended in water and dribbled on plants. They have to be reapplied often. I don't live in a neighborhood where I have to care about appearances so I have mostly gone to welded wire fencing around beds since it is a more permanent solution. It's interesting to know the deer repellents can work. I know what you mean about the sampling, last year some of my large Trillium clumps and also some geraniums that never get bothered were all chomped. This year they seemed to leave them alone again.ReplyDelete
I have an area that is fenced off from the deer so the repellent is a few weeks a year project for those plants they randomly bother.Delete
One must remain ever vigilant. I had success with a homemade brew last year, but as you have noted, a new crop of fawns means starting all over again each season. 'Next year...' is a common refrain around here.ReplyDelete
Seems you might have discovered a new anti-deer brew, using hesperaloe as an ingredient. How 'bout using some of that plant's parts in a homemade mix of water, oil and Tabasco?ReplyDelete
The best commercial product I used when I had deer damage in Connecticut was one called Deer Off. It also had a pleasant smell, unlike some.
Tabasco and hesperaloe sounds like a good local combo. I've read about the homemade brew but never seem to get around to making any up so finding this product super cheap was the best option.Delete
The scent on these products is not an insignificant factor.
We don't have deer (thank goodness!) but, after repeated problems with raccoon, I tried a non-toxic repellent made of "putrescent egg solids", garlic and other materials. It's smelly but not so bad as to force me to run in the opposite direction. Like you, I discovered that it doesn't deliver 100% success but it's made a big difference, significantly reducing the loss of new plants. I now use it liberally whenever I plant.ReplyDelete
I need to try something for the raccoons so might use this on deck plants to see if I can keep them away from the house.Delete
I'm so glad it worked for you and hopefully it will for years to come! I think the most surprising thing for me though was the shear number of bloom spikes your hesperaloe are sending up. I'm excited and one, and two is a super bonus.ReplyDelete
The large ones near the house are about 20 years old and are treated to 10-12 hours of Texas sun a day almost year round. Now that we keep the deer away they are happier than ever.Delete
Oh wow! How encouraging! I am thinking of trying chilli as a deterrent against squirrels.ReplyDelete
I'm still giggling about the coyote urine!
It's a popular treatment but can really stink in our hot sun. I'm not sure anything works on squirrels.Delete
Well, that's very encouraging. I don't have deer, but I wonder if that product will work on rabbits. Definitely worth a looksey! Thanks for the post.ReplyDelete
It might be worth a try we don't have rabbits but do have coyotes.Delete
This is wonderful news!!!! I will certainly pass this info on - Thanks Shirley! Beautiful shot of your driveway plantings....ReplyDelete
There are a lot of neighborhoods with deer around our area so I'm glad you will find it helpful.Delete
There are thousands of deer in my area but none have ever come to my part of the subdivision. I'm glad you found a product that works. Deer knocked down the 6ft fence surrounding a friends garden and ate almost everything. :(ReplyDelete
That's such a problem when they do those things and you can't plan for that.Delete
As an added bonus, your garden smells like an Italian restaurant for a while. Hmmm pasta sounds really good right now. Your hesperaloe blooms look stunning next to the blue agave and that glorious Bismarkia nobilis!ReplyDelete
I also use a garlic based repellent through spring and summer and it does help as long as I spray again after lots of rain.ReplyDelete