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GardenSMART :: Spring Delight Or Deer Food

Spring Delight Or Deer Food

By Plantskydd Animal Repellent
Photographs courtesy of Plantskydd Animal Repellent

Think of a snack you have little willpower to resist. Kettle chips? Ghirardelli chocolates? That’s exactly what many of our favorite plants are to deer. Rabbits and voles often love them too, and they are all creatures of habit. 

Does your garden feature any of the following: arborvitae, azaleas, lilies, strawberries, tulips or rhododendrons? 

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Rutgers Cooperative Extension rates rhododendrons as the type of plant that is “frequently severely damaged” by deer.

According to Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Cooperative Extension, these and a handful of other plants are “Frequently Severely Damaged” by deer. Wherever deer roam, Rutgers recommends additional protection like fencing or repellents for these types of plants. 

The sad news is the list of plants that are “Occasionally Severely Damaged” is quite long, and includes other beloved garden varietals such as apples, begonia, clematis, mums, hydrangea, lilac and sunflowers. The full list of plants rated by Rutgers for their degree of deer resistance – from “Rarely Damaged” to “Frequently Severely Damaged” – can be found here:

It may feel defeating. But take heart. You’re not alone! The really good news is garden designers like Karen Chapman are finding creative and effective ways to live in harmony with these beautiful animals. 

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While hydrangeas may not be a preferred snack by deer, that doesn’t stop them from devouring your beloved plants. 

Chapman’s latest book, Deer Resistant Design, was “written to encourage and inspire homeowners with stories and photographs of mature landscapes that have withstood the test of time and taste-testing of deer.” This stunning and informative book is a must read for those dealing with deer and who want to keep their garden fence-free. 

The other technique to mitigate the effects of deer dining on your plants is to use repellents, especially on the varieties preferred by deer and rabbits. Spraying plants at the first sign of spring will get these creatures in the habit of avoiding your garden. Applying granular formulations for smaller plants, as border treatment, and to deter smaller animals is a good backup. It clearly sends the message: No buffet here, my friends!

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Use a trusted repellent to protect plants from deer, elk, moose, rabbits, voles and squirrels so you can focus on growing the garden you love. 

If you’re looking for the #1 choice of professional growers, landscapers and foresters, Plantskydd Deer-Rabbit-Vole Repellent has been tried and tested since 1992. It is effective against deer, elk, moose, rabbits, voles, chipmunks and squirrels. Plantskydd is also rain resistant and does not require reapplication after rain or irrigation. And you can take comfort in the fact that Plantskydd is organically listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), meaning it is safe for use on vegetable gardens and fruit trees, and EPA exempt. 

So, welcome the warmer weather with a spring in your step, knowing with good planning and the proper precautions you really can have your cake and eat it, too.

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GardenSMART Featured Article

By Delilah Onofrey, Suntory Flowers
Photographs courtesy of Suntory Flowers

Now is the time to shop for annuals that will go the distance all summer. Suntory Flowers has a portfolio of gorgeous varieties that thrive in the heat. To learn more, click here for an interesting article.

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