July 21, 2015 at 12:02 am #151815
I took this photo in the front yard of a client’s home on the Long Island south shore. This deer was browsing on all the ornamental plants in the neighborhood, leaping 4 foot tall fences without any effort. It wasn’t worried about dogs, because they can’t jump the fences. The deer didn’t even flinch when I drove past it in my car and I was about 10 feet away.
My mom lives in a senior community in the near ‘burbs of DC and I’ve seen the deer ignore residents walking 6 feet away from them. I didn’t believe it until I saw it with my own eyes.
I remember when deer wouldn’t eat rhododendron and blue holly. Now it seems like my plant palette has become limited, because they’ve expanded their menu. I’ve always taken the live and let live approach to dealing with the problem. I don’t like using deer fencing; I usually specify plants that are low browse risk. But I’m concerned they’ll start eating everything.July 21, 2015 at 1:25 pm #151831Rob HalpernParticipant
The only effective control is fencing.
There are no deer-proof plants. If deer populations are low, there are many plants that they will browse rarely. But as deer population density has increased, they eat whatever they can. In some case, they will be less likely to browse right next to a house, so the plantings there can get a bit more creative while the property perimeter gets bare. But if the deer population pressure is great enough, then even plants under the windows are not left alone.July 21, 2015 at 8:26 pm #151830Trace OneParticipant
How about very high fencing with those flashy streamers tied on in intervals, Rob – do they help at all? One of the guys at work had fencing that had a gap at about 5 -6′, and the deer sailed neatly through the gap. But according to him, the flashy streamers tied to the fence seem to be of help..
?July 23, 2015 at 1:54 pm #151829Rob HalpernParticipant
A 10′ high fence,especially angled out a bit , is usually effective for the most part.July 23, 2015 at 3:45 pm #151828Tosh KParticipant
10′ high fence or double row of 6~8′ (often planted with a hedge to screen, yes it’s expensive); spray treatment in CT seems to have pretty good effect as they can go elsewhere, more urban areas maybe be limited (it’s a 1~2 times a season and not too cost prohibitive). They browse everything, and deep in winter it gets really bad (there’s a herd that travels by my parents that eat the lavender). The deer have wrecked the understory and now a lot more towns are becoming lenient on hunting and/or aggressively thinning them out (often with the support of Audubon and other wildlife groups as it is healthier for the deer to be thinned out); the lyme disease and other tick related diseases seems to help encourage the thinning out of deer (even though ticks are far more prevalent in smaller mammals).
Make sure the gates are not easy to open by them – a couple of nurseries have had deer come through gates (they opened the latch).July 24, 2015 at 12:19 am #151827Gregg SpadaroParticipant
Here in NJ deer are a huge problem as well but it is localized to the region that you are in. Deer prevention approach varies based on client needs, intensity of problem, and budget. I usually reference the Rutgers deer list https://njaes.rutgers.edu/deerresistance/
as it is very comprehensive for plant selection. I have also had success with 8′ tall deer fencing (but you need to check local codes to see if it is allowed). If you don’t want to have a gate at your driveway you can install cattle guards, deer won’t cross them. Finally, we have had success with companies that specialize in deer prevention but you have to be committed to regular spraying. These guys are great
http://www.njdeercontrol.com/July 27, 2015 at 2:45 am #151826July 29, 2015 at 2:13 pm #151825
I use plantings that are low browse risk, but eventually they’ll be eating everything if we don’t so something. I’m sad to say that as we continue to encroach on their domain, we will have to start thinning out urban/suburban herds. In my home state they higher marksmen and donate the meat. Thanks for the info.July 29, 2015 at 2:21 pm #151824
I’ve seen cattle guards used effectively, which I thought was strange because if they really wanted to they could just leap over them as well. Maybe if their hungry enough they will eventually. Thanks.July 29, 2015 at 2:32 pm #151823
You’re right on about them needing to be thinned out for their own good. There’s just too much competition for food. We can’t introduce predators or hunt them safely in our neighborhoods. It seems like all we can do is give them more space. It’s sad to see scrawny deer who are just trying to survive. Thanks Tosh.August 25, 2015 at 10:15 pm #151822Alan Ray, RLAParticipant
I offer my clients with deer problems my specialized deer eradication service. For a reasonable fee, my son in law and I bring our rifles and dine on free range organic meat all year…
I have found that dogs are about the most effective way to run the deer off the property if my eradication service is not required.August 31, 2015 at 8:08 pm #151821
Sorry Alan, you’ll have to catch them on foot to take one out. No guns or bow and arrows in this neighborhood. Besides you probably wouldn’t want to eat one of these scrawny, mangy things. It’s really sad to see deer in such poor condition.September 4, 2015 at 6:28 pm #151820
Thanks Elizabeth.September 4, 2015 at 6:51 pm #151819
Henry I’m starting to believe that “harvesting” them is the only solution. We can’t introduce predators, we can’t let them starve, we can’t let them ruin our gardens and we’re not going to vacate their habitat. Maybe we can plant more food sources for them and plan on having a certain amount of damage to our plants. This should improve the health of the herds and provide a good quality protein to the community. We just can’t have you guys shooting sheet metal and wall piercing rounds in the city and suburbs… I think?September 4, 2015 at 7:09 pm #151818
You mean the Westchester herds aren’t nibbling their way into the Bronx yet?
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