Minimize Deer Damage to Gardens and Landscaping

JACKSON- With spring upon us, many Mississippians are planting gardens and working hard to beautify their property. However, white-tailed deer find many garden and landscape plants very appealing and can often force gardeners to battle deer for their prized plants. To manage the problem, MDWFP suggests a few tips that may save your plants this spring and summer.

First, consider eliminating the supplemental feeding of deer near your lawn or garden. Supplemental feeding can attract and hold deer in an area and subsequently increase the potential damage to vegetation around the feeding area.

Second, deer repellents, such as liquid scents, perfumes, and even human hair, may work well for a period of time, but deer may become accustomed to these scents over time. This period of effectiveness is much briefer when the garden or lawn is located within a city, suburb, or any area that human activity is constant. It is important to change scents weekly to maintain these repellents' effectiveness. Direct spraying of plants with capsaicin, the chemical that makes peppers "hot", tends to work well, but must be performed frequently, as rain and dew will wash it away. This practice can be easily done by soaking ground hot pepper in water overnight and spraying this water on the plants.

Lastly, electric fencing can also be very effective, especially when two fences are installed, with one fence being five feet inside the other. However, electric fences require daily inspection and maintenance and should only be used in rural settings. 

Homeowners should remain vigilant and use a combination of these methods to enjoy the fruits of their lawn and garden labor. While these methods can be effective, the most effective method to reduce deer damage is through safe and legal harvest during the hunting season.

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