Daylilies forum: Help!!! The deer are destroying my daylilies and iris'. What do I do??

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Name: Kim
iowa (Zone 5a)
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kimmer
Apr 20, 2013 6:35 PM CST
I have had issue with deer before, but not to this extreme. They have managed to "munch" almost all of my daylilies and have started with my iris. It is so discouraging. Tonight I sprinkled cayanne pepper around my flowerbed. Seeing if this would detour them. I would appreciate any advise. Kim Grumbling Grumbling Grumbling
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
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fiwit
Apr 20, 2013 7:16 PM CST
No advice, just Group hug Group hug Group hug
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Name: Betty
MN zone 4
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daylilydreams
Apr 20, 2013 7:20 PM CST
Kim I have heard of folks using Milorganite fertilizer to help keep the deer away they don't like the scent. I do not have trouble with deer and do not use milorganite so this is just pass along information.
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Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
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chelle
Apr 20, 2013 7:43 PM CST
How big of an area are you trying to protect, Kim?

Deer don't like areas with loosely draped bird netting. You could use it until the deer find other stuff to eat, but you would need to rearrange it occasionally so that your scapes don't grow up through it. Once scapes really start growing you'd probably have to switch to a repellent ...if the deer are still around.

Some folks have tried motion activated sprinklers too.
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Name: Kim
iowa (Zone 5a)
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kimmer
Apr 20, 2013 7:45 PM CST
Thanks Betty, I have some of the milorganite in the garage. I am about ready to let my husband put up a deer stand and get them. KIm Angry
Name: Julie
Roanoke, VA (Zone 7a)
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floota
Apr 20, 2013 7:50 PM CST
Milorganite and Liquid Fence are the best I've used. Both smell nasty and you need to re-apply after heavy rains. The best repellant actually is a 10' deer fence, which regrettably, I don't have. Nothing will keep them away for long when they are really, really, hungry - been there, done that and tried every deer repellant known to man. You just have to keep trying and I alternate these two, which works most of the time.

Name: Juli
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daylily
Apr 20, 2013 7:53 PM CST
I just read in the latest Consumer Reports "we haven't tested a commercial deer or squirrel repellant that works well"

I live in deer country. I have no idea why they don't eat mine to the ground. Rabbits get a lot of my foliage each spring, but they quickly regrow.

Curt Hanson has a tall, solar powered multi strand electric fence around his daylilies. Still, once in a while they manage to get in. Another daylily gardener I know uses a plastic green mesh fencing that they staple to their trees - I think it must be 7 or 8 feet tall. It works well as long as it does not get any rips in it. If there is the smallest opening, they will find it.
[Last edited by daylily - Apr 20, 2013 7:56 PM (+)]
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Name: Kim W
Md (Zone 6a)
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kimkats
Apr 20, 2013 8:51 PM CST
A few ideas to try.
Sometimes having a dog around will help. Having the scent of a canine might deter them some. If you don't have a dog maybe ask a friend to bring their pup over often and walk thru the garden. Just a thought. I've also heard placing the slivers of left over bars of soap around will deter them some, Supposedly Irish Spring is called for but I imagine any soap would be worth a try. Never tried it myself. I've heard using clippings of hair from a barber or beauty shop, again to put out human scent. also intermixing your plantings with things they don't like or may be toxic. Plants like daffadil, lamb's ear or other fuzzy-leafed plants, thorny plants and such. So that they might get a bite of something yucky every couple of nibbles and move on to greener pastures.

When I worked at the garden center it seemed like what worked best for most folks, besides a shotgun or fence was to continuously vary your approach. Try one method for a little while and when they get used to that, switch to something else. Or overlapping methods. most things need to be reapplied after a rain. The idea being to make them uncomfortable and not want to stay in your yard for any length of time, thereby minimizing the damage they will do. Btw the garden center I worked at years ago, sold predator urine( fox, cougar, bobcat, etc.) as a deterent. It was absolutely the biggest bunch of horse-pucky ever, completely useless, so save your money on that approach. Goodluck and Big hugs Group hug Group hug Group hug
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Name: Kim
iowa (Zone 5a)
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kimmer
Apr 20, 2013 9:38 PM CST
Thanks for everyones advise, I really appreciate it. They have been a problem before, but not to this extent. And they never have bothered my iris' before. Kim Angry
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
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Natalie
Apr 20, 2013 9:44 PM CST
My Dad has the same problem. Dogs don't work at his place. He's got two large dogs that will chase them off, but they sneak in at night when no one is looking. He buys a spray at Home Depot, and it works wonders, but I don't know what it's called. He does have to respray when it rains. He doesn't have a lot of plants that the deer eat, so it's not a big problem for him, but it's enough of a problem that he always sprays the stuff he wants to enjoy that doesn't bloom for long.

He's tried the soap idea, and that never worked. He said they just used it to freshen up with after eating his flowers. Whistling

I'm in serious need of helpful info too, as I'm getting ready to move into deer territory, and we didn't get fences put up yet. I'm going to try a tasty bale of alfalfa tossed down the hill, and see if that keeps them away for a while.
Natalie
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
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fiwit
Apr 21, 2013 4:38 AM CST
The guy at my semi-local nearly native told a friend of mine that deer take the path of least resistance in their wanderings. So you want to make it difficult to get into your area. My friend had just built a house in a newly developed area, and deer fence are prohibited by the HOA. In her case, the deer come out of the woods into her backyard.

He said her best bet was to make it difficult for deer to get into her yard. Plant thorny or dense shrubs close together, that kind of thing. Deer would rather not have to push their way through something. They prefer an easier path. If they're leaving the woods and are blocked by a row of bushes, they'll naturally flow to the left or right of that row, and go into her neighbors' yards instead.

I don't have a deer problem here (yet) - there are some who walk through my yard on occasion, but they've never gone after the stuff in it that I care about, so I have no first-hand experience. But my nursery guy is VERY knowledgeable.
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Name: Rob Duval
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robertduval14
Apr 21, 2013 4:52 PM CST

Plants Admin

Deer taste good...just sayin'.
Name: Michele
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tink3472
Apr 21, 2013 5:17 PM CST
Deer sausage is yummy!!!! nodding
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Name: Julie
Roanoke, VA (Zone 7a)
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floota
Apr 21, 2013 5:31 PM CST
Those of us who live in Suburbia would quickly be arrested if we tried the measures some of you in the country can take!!! The deer roam around the neighborhood freely - I feel sorry for them, for much of their habitat has been taken. But I don't feel sorry for them when I see the damage they can do! Must apply some more MIlorganite and Liquid Fence tomorrow!! They haven't been back since the first time I applied it this season, but taking no chances.

Name: Mona
Guntown, Ms (Zone 7b)
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monalisa18
Apr 21, 2013 5:35 PM CST
I'm a live and let-live kind of person, BUT!!! if the long legged, daylily munching machines took over my garden, they would be meat in my freezer. I have a son that loves to hunt. I have a neighbor that loves to hunt. I would fill everyone I know of freezers but I could not set by and let them eat everything I work so hard for every year.

All of this ssaid, I know there are thousands of deer that take over areas of our country every year. I wish you the best but I'm afraid a fence is the only thing that can really stop them and then you need to do some research on the right kind of fence. I've heard about a 4 ft fence and then within so many feet another higher fence. It's the spacing of the two fences apart that actually stops them because they don't have room to recover before they have to jump again.

A few years ago my son and I saw several deer standing by a fence that we know to be 8' high. As we passed, one of the deer, from a dead stop, jumped straight up and over that fence. I was amazed!!!! It was like the darned thing was on a spring. I think they have the ability to jump most but the 2 fence design is something they will avoid.
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dormantsrule
Apr 21, 2013 5:53 PM CST
fiwit said:The guy at my semi-local nearly native told a friend of mine that deer take the path of least resistance in their wanderings. So you want to make it difficult to get into your area. My friend had just built a house in a newly developed area, and deer fence are prohibited by the HOA. In her case, the deer come out of the woods into her backyard.

He said her best bet was to make it difficult for deer to get into her yard. Plant thorny or dense shrubs close together, that kind of thing. Deer would rather not have to push their way through something. They prefer an easier path. If they're leaving the woods and are blocked by a row of bushes, they'll naturally flow to the left or right of that row, and go into her neighbors' yards instead.

I don't have a deer problem here (yet) - there are some who walk through my yard on occasion, but they've never gone after the stuff in it that I care about, so I have no first-hand experience. But my nursery guy is VERY knowledgeable.


I know someone who lined 3 sides of their backyard with knockout roses and deer have never been back.

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Name: Kim
iowa (Zone 5a)
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kimmer
Apr 21, 2013 7:37 PM CST
deer jurky and roast aren't bad.
Name: Mona
Guntown, Ms (Zone 7b)
I love nature & everything outdoors
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monalisa18
Apr 21, 2013 8:12 PM CST
My daughter will absolutely go WILD over deer jerky. She loves it more than chocolate. I can't imagine! My son, wife, and his 4 little ones eat more deer meat than anything else. It's good, very good to me. DH doesn't care for it. I think he got ahold of some that wasn't dressed out right and he says he can always taste the "wild" taste and he doesn't like it. I can't taste it at all.
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
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Natalie
Apr 21, 2013 8:42 PM CST
I can't eat deer. I grew up on wild game, and now I can't eat it. It's more of a visual thing for me though. I don't have that problem with beef, but I'm not raising beef. If I was, I'd be a vegetarian for sure!

My husband used to deer and elk hunt, but now he just bird hunts. The last deer he got was 250 pounds, and the entire thing was made into jerky! After dragging it out of the woods, he said it was much easier to carry birds out, so he quit the large game hunting. I don't eat the birds that he gets either. They are too pretty!

Mona, I know from eating a lot of deer that a lot of the taste can also depend on what they have eaten. One deer that my Dad got tasted just like sage. It was fine at first, but then we couldn't stand the taste! My Mom started cooking it for the dogs, and they wouldn't touch it after a couple of meals! Dressing them out properly is just as important though.

Dad has a 5 foot tall fence around his property, and solar powered electric wire at the very top. His gate to the BLM land behind him is where they jump over, from what he's seen. It's only 4 feet tall, and they clear it easily. I don't know why he doesn't just get a taller gate, but he hasn't done that. We'll put 5 foot tall fencing around our property in Idaho, and a gate that is just as tall!
Natalie
Name: Mona
Guntown, Ms (Zone 7b)
I love nature & everything outdoors
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monalisa18
Apr 21, 2013 9:44 PM CST
Im thankful we don't have that problem. I'll take my blessing where I can get them. I've read some stories about dear and even locally in a high class town about 60 mles from us, they got so bad, that the town allowed bow hunters to go inside town in some really really fancy subdivisions and kll the deer. They were absolutely destroying the land. We grow alot of Azaleas n this area and they love them. They were pawing down the water features and eating any perennial they lked. Seems the towns are pushing out into the dders homes and the deeers want the land back!

Atleast in ya'lls areas up there, they are eating the plants just because they like them, not because they are hungry. WHen this happens, I totally agree they have to go. If we don't allow more natural preditors to live, I'm afraid it's only going to get worse. I guess they can up the limit on hunters kills.

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