This is the only effective way to keep deer out of your yard

Of all garden pests, deer can be some of the most frustrating. They don’t care whether you’re sprinkling coffee grounds between your rows of tomatoes or hanging shiny strips of duct tape around the perimeter. They’ll jump right in, eat all your beans, and jump right out. I live in a place where herds of wandering deer are just a given, and veteran gardeners laugh at the cute, undemanding attempts by newbies to fend them off. People, you need a fence.

How to build a fence to keep deer out

A simple fence to keep deer out of a garden plot should be at least eight feet high, second to the Cornell Co-op Extension (and common sense, if you’ve ever seen how high deer can jump). Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be particularly robust fence. The net used for snow fencing works well. You can also find deer netwhich is sold bafflingly in 7-foot rolls, but you can make it work with creative solutions like using 8-foot poles and running ropes around the top.

How to make a shorter fence work

If you only need to protect a small garden bed, you can keep deer out by giving your enclosure a ceiling. Run a three-foot fence around the bed (or whatever height is convenient for you), then secure the netting on top.

You can also deter deer with an open fence that is 5 feet or higher. They will jump in if they are motivated, but the smaller the garden, the less likely they are to want to jump a fence only to find themselves in a tight space that will be difficult to jump out of.

And finally, as rural gardeners have long known, there is also the option of installing an electric fence. Here’s how Cornell extension writer describes one of their favorite setups:

Peanut butter covered polytape electric fencing can be effective for home gardens and small nurseries or truck crops up to 40 [acres]. This simple, temporary fence works best under light pressure from deer during the summer and fall. The poly-tape fence apparently attracts deer with its bright color and peanut butter smell. Deer make nose-to-fence contact when approached, receiving substantial shock, and quickly learn to avoid such fenced areas. Polytape fences are portable, have a life expectancy of over 15 years, and can be installed for $0.10 to $0.25 per foot.

Use repellents

Deer repellents are one thing, but they aren’t magical and you probably don’t want to use them on edible plants like your garden vegetables. Repellents like Liquid fence work tasting and smelling terribly deer. They don’t really hold the deer distant so as to make your plants unappetizing.

These repellants can work well to deter deer from eating ornamental flowers, especially those that aren’t in an area you want to fence off. And if you’re looking for other ways to keep deer from eating your plants, check out these flowers which aren’t exactly deer-trial– nothing is – but that deer seems to be less interested in eating.