Roses forum: Deer Versus Roses

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Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
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Paul2032
May 8, 2017 8:14 AM CST
Grumbling Sad Thumbs down The last few years many deer have habituated to living in the neighborhoods in my city. They have been a little bit of a problem in the past but this year is a real disaster. I just went out...a beautiful morning but nearly everyone of my 75 roses show damage from the deer. They are eating the new growth at the ends of the branches which is where the young buds are. Grumbling Crying Thumbs down Glare Glare Perhaps I need to go and see if I can find a repellent but am not certain how well they work. A friend told me that bob cat urine worked but they didn't know how to get a catheter into the cat Shrug!
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
May 8, 2017 8:34 AM CST
Paul, I am so sorry.

I never had any luck with the repellents. However, that may be because I am dealing with what I call "town deer". They were born and raised in town and were taught by their mamas to feed in people's gardens. They are used to all of the repellents and think of them as normal. They don't even know that a bobcat is a predator ... Shrug!

Last winter the deer found a way into my garden and deer chomped my roses horribly. Even when I finally found where they were getting in and blocked that entry point, they were making blind jumps over the deer fence that used to keep them out. I finally had to make that fence even higher this spring to save the garden.

Once the deer know where to find their deer candy, they seem to be more persistent than we can imagine.

Good luck finding a solution. The photos of your roses are breathtaking.
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
May 8, 2017 8:51 AM CST
Paul,
Sorry to hear about deer damage to your roses.

Short answer: Liquid Fence weekly or biweekly along with a tall peripheral fence. Roses inside the fence mulched with 8" river rock.

Long Answer: When I moved to Prescott, AZ I bought a property with a fenced area. I knew deer would jump over it; but I planted roses nonetheless. Third year I was here I went into the garden to inspect the roses. Twenty or so of them had wonderful buds on them. "Ahhh," I thought, "Tomorrow I'll have a lot of great roses." Got up the next day and looked at the garden. All the buds had been eaten by deer. They jumped right over the fence.

I bought those sprayer thingies that detect motion and spray water. They scare deer, but I forgot to turn one off one day when I was in the garden and got an unpleasant surprise. Furthermore, the things seem to start going bad after a season. Between forgetting to turn the water on and dead batteries, they often do not work when you need them most. In my garden I judge them to be a little more trouble than they are worth.

I started using Liquid Fence. Made of rotted eggs and cayenne pepper, I think it actually smells pretty terrible. If I use it religiously, every two weeks or so, I find that the deer and other nibbling animals tend to leave my roses alone. When I do spray, I concentrate on marking the periphery of the garden, then on spraying the established leaves on roses showing new growth. Sometimes new-growth leaves are stunted by the concoction, I think. My impression has been that very regular, light spraying is much more effective than rather irregular drenching.

The acid test of this has been to plant roses outside the fence. For some time every single rose I planted outside the fence was nibbled to nothing before the first six leaves had hardened off. Then I got serious about using Liquid Fence regularly. I'm finding that the damage is much less frequent. I will know a lot more in fourteen months, because I have planted a number of new roses in the area this spring. One of the things that has changed there since my early attempts is that I've planted a lot of deer and rabbit resistant plants - agastaches and so on (High Country Gardens) - enough that one can detect their odor on a still day. I think this helps amplify the 'no food here' signal from the Liquid Fence. Or maybe it helps bridge gaps in delivery.

One last thing about fences. When I gardened in NJ I put up a 6 ft tall cedar fence. For about two years deer would jump it to get inside. But I was growing roses around its periphery. One day I saw that a deer had crushed a nice, mature Autumn Sunset in jumping over the fence. I was sorry for the damage to the plant; but I know that the deer was a lot sorrier. That was the last time a deer came over the fence. Here in AZ, plants and boulders around much of the periphery stop deer from jumping over the fence; but there's a section with open grassland. Good news is that the soil here is very soft sand; so the deer have difficulty jumping in it, and making a 4 ft fence almost good enough to keep deer out. Then I put river rocks along the fence - 8" diameter rocks over the length that is ajacent to the grass, extending from the fence to 8 feet inside. And I planted roses here. The deer find it impossible to jump from atop these rocks. They get trapped inside the garden. This really spooks them. Since one got trapped there, I watch the deer walk by studiously avoiding it. I still spray liquid fence on the section of fence deer use when they jump into the garden.

It's still early in May, and the big rosebud nibbling surprise happened about a week later in the season a few years back; but since the deer got trapped in my garden in February of this year, I've seen no signs of deer damage in the fenced garden. Only the flower stalks of my yellow and pink iris outside the garden have been eaten. Sadly, Liquid Fence does not adhere to iris foliage.

I think that having a multipronged approach that changes from time to time is likely to be most effective in the long term; so it is useful to have a good bag of tricks.

Good Luck.
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Charter ATP Member Annuals Echinacea Vegetable Grower Hybridizer Tomato Heads
Garden Photography Birds Cut Flowers Foliage Fan Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Paul2032
May 8, 2017 9:08 AM CST
Thanks for the responses Lyn and Steve. Your description "Town Deer" is so accurate. In many areas in the country deer are devastating to Hostas. I have lots of Hostas and the deer leave them alone. I heard somewhere that the white tail deer east of the Mississippi are murder on hostas but the Mule Deer around here don't bother them.. They do eat tulips and some shrubs. Need to decide what I'm going to do.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
May 8, 2017 10:46 AM CST
Paul ...

Different types of deer have different eating habits. What works for white tailed deer may not work for black tailed deer or mule deer. Mule deer can just lean on a fence and be into the garden. Elk do the same thing. If they want into the garden, they will make sure they get in ... Rolling my eyes.

I have seen even black tailed deer tip toe through a rosemary patch .. deer are supposed to hate rosemary to get to a spot where they could leap into a garden. They knew where the roses were, so they were willing to put up with the rosemary.

Steve has a lot of good ideas. I don't know if the stones would stop the deer up here because that is normal up here.

It's their persistency that boggles my mind. The way the deer first got into my garden this winter was to jump over the trash cans down in the carport to a very small landing spot. Squeeze through between an almost vertical slope and a deer fence to a point where they could climb the slope and jump a three foot fence at the top of the slope.

AND there were plenty of unfenced species roses growing in the meadow across the road .. Confused

Tulips, heucheras, hostas, roses and more are deer candy. Town deer will eat things that a normal self-respecting deer in the back country would never touch.
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
May 8, 2017 10:47 AM CST
If you property is fenced, a dog running loose will deter deer. We have no problem with deer on the roses planted where the dogs roam.
Porkpal
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
May 8, 2017 10:57 AM CST
@Paul2032
Over in the daylily forum ,Deryll suggested using Gain fabric softener. Fred tried it and was having good results repelling deer, might be worth a try.
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Charter ATP Member Annuals Echinacea Vegetable Grower Hybridizer Tomato Heads
Garden Photography Birds Cut Flowers Foliage Fan Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Paul2032
May 8, 2017 12:40 PM CST
Thanks Larry....I will try Gain. At this point in my life I won't be building fences......
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
May 8, 2017 1:45 PM CST
@Paul2032
That is Gain Fabric Softener not just the detergent!
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Charter ATP Member Annuals Echinacea Vegetable Grower Hybridizer Tomato Heads
Garden Photography Birds Cut Flowers Foliage Fan Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Image
Paul2032
May 8, 2017 3:38 PM CST
Thanks.....
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Sep 14, 2017 6:58 PM CST
Did it work? Some of us would have a lot to gain if it did...
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Sep 15, 2017 11:41 PM CST
@Steve812 ...

There are a couple of threads on the GARDENING IDEAS Forum that you might be interested in reading ... Smiling
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Jim Washington
Midland City, Al
Daylilies
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jwash
Oct 8, 2017 9:13 AM CST
get a DOG or borrow one. Chain near roses and Deer won't come around even after you return your borrowed DOG. IT WORKS!!!!
jwash

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