The Q&A Archives: Deer and Groundhog Control

Question: I have trouble with groundhogs and deer. Would hydrated lime around the outside perimeters help?

Answer: There are many "home rememedies" and repellent products you can try to deter both of these pests, and you can certainly try them. I'd stay away from hydrated lime, since it can severly alter soil pH and kill soil life. In some cases, the only guraranteed solution is a physical barrier. Deer require at least an seven foot fence, groundhogs need a heavy duty wire mesh both above and below ground. I did speak to a gardener recently who had luck deterring groundhogs with a chicken wire fence that surrounds the garden with a "skirt" of several feet of fencing left on the ground. Apparently the creatures don't like the unseen thing that catches at their feet as they approach the garden.
While fences are usually the only guaranteed method of foiling deer, a subscriber of National Gardening Magazine sent us this "new" tried and tested suggestion. Maybe it will work for you!

"At a very young age, I was taught that one's success in the field depended on knowledge of the species of game hunted. As all hunters know, deer are creatures of habit. Deer will develop a pattern or habit of movement, using the same path for an approach direction and a second path for a departing direction. They'll repeatedly follow a familiar path until they sense or encounter some form of harm or danger there.

"I've discovered that a length of heavy strength monofilament fishing line, stretched across the approach path 24 to 30 inches above ground level and tied at either end to a half-inch willowly tree branch will stop an approaching deer. It appears that deer are confused by the unknown or unseen resistance and will change direction to avoid a questionable situation. Also, I've discovered that
light-weight, noise-causing objects attached near the ends of the stretched lines will spook a deer away from the immediate area when they encounter the monofilament line. By studying the movements and changing the location of the stretched line each time they attempt a different approach, you can cause deer to avoid the area of doubtful encounters."

I hope this information is helpful!

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