Companion Planting forum: Deer and companions

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upat5
Dec 2, 2016 5:26 PM CST
Hi,

Just curious to know if anyone has used companion planting for keeping deer away and if it works? I am in a heavily deer damaged area and there are so many that the usual methods for deterring them don't work but I find if you use a combination of methods sometimes you can protect a few things....so is it possible to use companion planting for keeping deer at bay?

Thanks!
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
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Weedwhacker
Dec 12, 2016 7:26 PM CST
"is it possible to use companion planting for keeping deer at bay?"

I personally don't think so, but if there IS some sort of companion plant that will deter deer I'd sure like to know about it!
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Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
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pirl
Dec 12, 2016 7:45 PM CST
Ditto. The young ones taste everything and the older ones devour anything they like. Using 8' tall fencing works but not all gardens can adapt to tall fencing.
Name: aud/odd
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Mar 22, 2017 5:04 PM CST
I am experienced and can tell you NO. There is no one thing or plant that will keep them away. If you want to garden with deer you have to use many thing. Even a eight fence alone will not keep them out. I HAVE A EIGHT FOOT FENCE.. Maybe a 20' fence with bob wire would work.
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Mar 24, 2017 8:39 AM CST
We are infested with deer here, but they will not jump the 6" shadowbox fence. And it has been 25 years. They won't jump over what they cant see past.
Peachtree City, GA (Zone 7b)
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thequeen770
Apr 8, 2017 5:08 PM CST
I purchased an orbit motion activated sprinkler, it's been out in the front yard for about two weeks and I think it's working. It is pricey but so are my plants. My neighbor across the street was showing me today where the deer have eaten her lilies. So far mine have not been touched. I'm setting up another in the back yard that is backed up to a greenbelt. I have seen deer during the day twice this month. I'll let you know it it works.
Name: Karen
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plantmanager
Apr 8, 2017 5:11 PM CST
I haven't found anything that works so far. I've tried different deer repellent products. It slows the munching down, but they still do it.
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Name: aud/odd
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Apr 8, 2017 8:41 PM CST
Yardenman said:We are infested with deer here, but they will not jump the 6" shadowbox fence. And it has been 25 years. They won't jump over what they cant see past.


Yes mine is a is not a shadow fence. forrest is behind and small ornamental trees. They are running from a distance because I am on a couple acres so they get up the speed and jump.

I sprayed today. I was at. the dollar store and picked up a bag of fifty balloons and a pump. Tied them to a stick Low to the ground and I waited. Right on time 7:30 they came for dinner. They stepped on one pow they took off running and they hit two more. Will not see them again tonight.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Apr 9, 2017 4:17 PM CST
That's a very creative solution, Cinta! (it sounds like it would be worth doing just for the entertainment value Big Grin )
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Name: aud/odd
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Cinta
Apr 9, 2017 5:53 PM CST
@Weedwhacker
Yes I really enjoyed seeing them run. They are creatures of habit. The books I am reading said start early and often to make them not want to make your garden a regular stop on their menu for the rest of the season. It was a dollar well spent watching them run.
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
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evelyninthegarden
Apr 25, 2017 10:53 PM CST
@cinta ~ Wow! I have SO many deer and that sounds like a fun idea! And you are right, they will nibble on anything and everything, even so-called deer-proof plants, though I have not even seen any daffodils being nibbled. I don't want to have just a daffodil garden, and they only bloom for a couple of months.
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Vita Sackville-West
Eastern Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
jsf67
Apr 26, 2017 6:39 AM CST
It is very hard to know what is the impact on deer and rabbits of what you have done vs. changes that occur for other reasons.
As I started paying more attention to the yard, I apparently made plants more appetizing to deer and rabbits that may have been around all along. Or maybe it is just Murphy's law.
Our Hostas looked terrible for years because they were choked by Lily of the Valley. Once I weeded out the LOTV, both deer and rabbits suddenly decided Hosta are tasty and destroyed all of them. I tried deer and rabbit repellent for the first time last year (after most of the damage was done). I still don't really know whether it works. I'm using it more aggressively this year, as well as extra hot chili powder.
Where I missed doing that in the front, one or more rabbits have been extra aggressive this year about eating any interesting plants.
Something popped up ahead of the Hosta everywhere the Hosta is. Both deer and rabbits crapped where they ate, so they may have planted it; Though it seemed to come up surprisingly fast for new growth from seed (rather than reemergence from roots). I was torn between weeding it out to help the Hosta vs. letting it get big enough to identify:

Thumb of 2017-04-26/jsf67/8b03b0

But it was a short period of indecision before the rabbit resolved the question by eating all of it.

Last summer (for the first time ever) a pair (seemed to be mother and child) of deer ate all the berries in one of my LOTV patches. I thought those were poisonous to mammals and we apparently don't have the birds that like those berries. So prior to that event, nothing ever ate any of the LOTV berries. After that, I never saw another deer in my yard and saw little possible evidence of them visiting in the night and no conclusive evidence. Two deer getting sick shouldn't scare all the rest away from my yard. So it must be coincidence. But I can hope.

In the back (where I've never seen a rabbit) something recently ate half the leaves off a struggling rhododendron (where I planted a slightly rooted branch a few years ago and it neither recovered nor fully died). I had sprayed it recently with repellent, which is discouraging. In Feb, something ate almost all the buds off a different type of Rhododendron, whose previous dose of repellent had likely been too much earlier. But overall, less was eaten this winter and spring in the back than a typical year.

In front, a rabbit dives for cover under one of the big rhododendrons (that nothing ever eats) every time I come outside. All small interesting plants are eaten immediately. Dandelion and another weed I'm overwhelmed by, seem to be immune. Campanula (which arrived as a weed) seemed immune until I either transplanted it together into a clump or weeded around it. Once isolated from other weeds, the Campanula was immediately eaten up by rabbits. The Hosta is just barely poking up and I'm trying to get to exposed parts with repellent and chili powder as quickly as I can. But no idea whether that will work.

Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Apr 26, 2017 7:37 AM CST
Deer are more of an issue, but rabbits are pretty easy to fence out of garden areas.

We've had deer visiting our yard this spring, more frequently than usual, and they've done a lot of nibbling on daylilies and a few iris -- but the daffodils are always left alone. It only seems to be a problem here in early spring -- I think once there's more human activity outside as the weather gets better, they stay out in the woods more.
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Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Apr 26, 2017 7:43 AM CST
jsf67- that looks like tulip leaves

love the balloon idea, Cinta
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Eastern Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
jsf67
Apr 26, 2017 8:02 AM CST
The deer behavior here has never made any sense: I planted many rooted rhododendron branches in back taken from giant rhododendron in front. Nothing EVER ate the leaves in front, so I thought the deer crossing the front yard early in the morning every day all winter were scared to pause to eat. But when the snow is almost high enough to cover the few leaves on the ones planted in back, suddenly it becomes a deer delicacy and every winter before this last one, they munched on those leaves. They killed some of those plants and damaged the rest.
Prior to 2016, deer wandered through my yard every day in the winter, sniffing everything and almost never eating, ignoring those rhododendron except when the snow was exactly the right depth and apparently never eating anything else. They stayed away all summer. Then in 2016, they were there all summer day and night munching away at the plants in front right beside the giant rhododendrons that they still wouldn't touch and plants in back they never attacked before. The Rhododendrons they wrecked in past years in back are clones of what they still won't touch in front. The front ones are strong enough, they would just save me pruning work if they ate every leaf they could reach. This winter they apparently stayed away entirely.
I still don't know what (at night) eats the viola that I transplanted out of the front lawn and into a back garden. It recovered very well in the lawn where I removed it, where nothing ever eats it. But in the garden, it is doing very badly under constant attack. Right near the viola in back, is my best transplant success: Campanula that rabbits destroy in the front garden is thriving in the back garden. Does that mean the viola are eaten by something other than rabbits, or they just are differently picky based on location?
Eastern Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
jsf67
Apr 26, 2017 8:12 AM CST
sallyg said:jsf67- that looks like tulip leaves


Sorry about expanding an off-topic, but I'm really curious.

Do tulips start that fast from seed (rather than from bulbs)? I'm pretty sure they weren't there last year. If they can start that fast from seed, it makes sense that some neighbor would have had tulips eaten by deer late enough that seeds were present, then the deer delivered the seeds and fertilizer while eating my Hostas.

Those leaves look to me so much like reemergence from last year's roots, that I would be sure they were that, if I hadn't paid such close attention to those spots last year: Hosta and LOTV came up. Then I weeded out the LOTV getting it to look great for a very short time. Then both deer and rabbits ate the Hosta down to the ground and crapped all over the remains. Then the Hosta made a partial recovery and even flowered a bit. No other significant growth was there at any point (a few of the usual weeds that look nothing like these new ones).


Name: aud/odd
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Apr 26, 2017 9:21 PM CST
evelyninthegarden said:@cinta ~ Wow! I have SO many deer and that sounds like a fun idea! And you are right, they will nibble on anything and everything, even so-called deer-proof plants, though I have not even seen any daffodils being nibbled. I don't want to have just a daffodil garden, and they only bloom for a couple of months.


If you have a dollar store near you it is a cheap easy test. I purchased the dark green so they blends in perfect with my hostas.
Name: Sean B
Riverhead, NY (Zone 7a)
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Whitebeard
Apr 28, 2017 7:38 PM CST
Massive rosemary and a wide swatch of thyme seem to have staved off the attacks in the past. Although, as you have noticed, nothing is predictable. Most of what I plant is seriously deer resistant, although I do get tomatoes and such going in deer territory. So far the hostas growing with the LOTV haven't be touched. They are close up to the house, but not safe. It's a crap shoot here each year.
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Apr 30, 2017 2:26 AM CST
Cinta said:

Yes mine is a is not a shadow fence. forrest is behind and small ornamental trees. They are running from a distance because I am on a couple acres so they get up the speed and jump.

I sprayed today. I was at. the dollar store and picked up a bag of fifty balloons and a pump. Tied them to a stick Low to the ground and I waited. Right on time 7:30 they came for dinner. They stepped on one pow they took off running and they hit two more. Will not see them again tonight.


I'm glad to see that worked. I'm thinking more in terms of 2'x4" mesh set a foot above ground and they won't want to walk on THAT in the front yard. And maybe some chicken wire!

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