The Q&A Archives: Protecting Roses from Deer

Question: I have more than 100 rose plants in my front yard. Lately, a couple of deer are eating them during the night. I have tried spraying a commercial deer repellant and added outdoor lighting, but nothing is working well. Unfortunately, I can't put up a fence because of my association rules. Any suggestions?

Answer: I wish I had an answer to your problem, but aside from fencing, there really is no way to keep deer out of your yard. Some plants are more attractive to deer than others, but if there's enough competition for food, and deer are hungry enough, they'll eat almost anything. The tender foliage of roses seem to be one of their favorites. Sounds as though you've already tried scaring them away, and spraying unsavory tasting mixtures on your plants. A barking dog can sometimes be a deterrent, or if that isn't an option, you might try draping your rose bushes each night with bird netting. Deer are creatures of habit and tend to visit the same places in the same gardens time after time. If you drape your rose bushes with bird netting and the deer can't dine on your roses, they just may find another garden to visit and will leave yours alone. I sure hope so!

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