How to Deer-Proof a Garden or Orchard

Deer resting in garden

Here are some simple ways to keep hungry deer away from your garden and fruit trees and shrubs. Use 3 or 4 tips together to get the best bang for your efforts.

  • Plant strongly scented perennials around crops: catnip, hyssop, mint, chives, garlic, lavender
  • Plant prickly plants around crops: lamb’s ear, barberries, cleome, roses
  • Create barberry, boxwood or short-needle spruce barriers around yard
  • Harvest all crops as soon as they’re ripe
  • Stack some pallets around trees. Deer don’t like stepping on them
  • Build high fences around garden or trees
  • Create a fishing line fence around the garden or trees. Freaks them out
  • Wind chimes (tin cans) in the trees or on a fence
  • Hang open bags of human hair from the trees or a fence
  • Cover crops with bird and deer-resistant netting
  • Spray crops with natural repellents: rotten egg-garlic mix or capsaicin. (See recipe below). Rotate regularly.
  • Hang fabric softener sheets or bars of soap (drill hole through) off branches or fence
  • Surround with motion-activated sprinklers
  • Pee on fruit trees. Yes, pee on them.

Anti-Deer Smelly Stuff

  • Fels Naptha soap — 1 bar
  • Onions, roughly chopped — 2
  • Garlic, cloves crushed — 2 heads
  • Red pepper flakes — 1 cup
  • Eggs, beaten — 4
  1. Fill a 5-gallon bucket half full with hot water.
  2. Shave soap into bucket and stir to dissolve.
  3. Place onions, garlic and chili powder in a large rag and tie up into a pouch.
  4. Beat the eggs into the liquid in the bucket, then add the pouch.
  5. Fill the bucket with 1 gallon more water. Cover tightly with a lid and place in lightly shaded area away from the house. Let sit for 1 to 2 weeks.
  6. Remove and discard the solids in the rag. Transfer the remaining stinky liquid to spray-pump containers. Apply directly to crops every 2 weeks and after each rainfall.