Monday, May 31, 2010

Deer, love 'em or leave my garden alone!!!!!

How can something so beautiful incited such anger and rage when you come out to smell the roses one fine spring morning and the roses that were about to pop have since been popped into the mouth of some passing Bambi. I don't know about anywhere else but here in the Northeast and especially Connecticut, we are being over run by the "dears". So since I am not a member of the NRA, I have chosen to fight by outsmarting CAN be done and trust me, this is warfare. I also refuse to give up my roses, my hostas, my tulips...among other plants that deer consider part of their buffet.

My means of attack is spraying. I have tried them all and there are pros and cons to most of them but I have found the spray of choice for my garden...Deer Stopper by Messina.

Deer Stopper is a pleasant-to-use systemic works by both smell and taste and lasts for 30 days and is not affected by the weather. The key to success is forming the habit of spraying...once a month and the deer will be dining on your neighbors flowers and not yours.

Deer are creatures of habit, if they show up and don't like what they smell and taste they will leave but WILL be back, however if after several visits they continue to be put off by the smell and taste, they will move on. Now that doesn't mean you're home free because after a period of time they'll be back to check up on you and your plants. When you spray, you only need to spray those plants they like so it's really not that hard a job.

Deer will be put off by dogs but they don't intimidate easily and a dog will only be effective when they are on the outside...a barking dog on the inside won't phase them and they will gladly continue to chew on your plants with your dog barking at the window. I once saw my border collie take out after a deer and once the deer crossed the electronic fence line, it stopped. I swear that deer was thumbing it's nose at my dog who had stopped at the fence line and was spinning wildly out of frustration... meanwhile the deer blissfully chowed down on the yew five feet over the fence line.

Another great product I've found is Melorganite...a brand of organic nitrogen fertilizer produced by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. It consists of processed sludge and the fertilizer is made of treated bio solids that have nutrients from the sewage stream along with added iron, used to strip phosphorus from the waste water flowing into Lake Michigan. The name Milorganite is a contraction of the phrase Milwaukee Organic Nitrogen.
 There is both university research and anecdotal evidence that applying Melorganite on lawns and near plants will deter deer due to its musky odor.  I, personally believe it's true though no legal claim has been made. I warn you, it does smell nasty for a day or so but then dissipates to the human nose. Before I ever leave on vacation, I broadcast Melorganite and spray with Deer Stopper just as a precaution....and I have never been gardens have always been intact upon my return.

The following link will give a list of landscape plants rated according to their resistance to deer damage. The list was compiled with input from nursery and landscape professionals, Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension personnel, and Master Gardeners in Northern N.J.

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