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discouraging deer in the garden, with ohio state’s marne titchenell

1321086-scott-bauer-usda-ag-research-serviceIN FALL AND WINTER, deer can do a lot of damage to garden trees and shrubs–and those don’t recover so soon, if at all. Autumn seemed like prime time to get some help in minimizing the impact of deer in our landscapes from Marne Titchenell of Ohio State University, a wildlife program specialist in OSU’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

First an anecdote: A recent September weekend, during a workshop in my garden, one attendee commented as he looked around at all the mature shrubs and big swaths of perennials: “You must have a fence, because otherwise this garden wouldn’t be here,” he said. Because it’s mostly hidden in the surrounding woodland tree line, he hadn’t spied the fence itself yet, but he just knew: It’s a deer-free zone.

A fence isn’t practical for every garden, but thankfully a range of other tactics are possible, from barriers that are less ambitious to erect, to repellents, to a smarter plant palette than I have and more. Marne shared various strategies in the October 10, 2016 edition of my public-radio show and podcast. Read along as you listen in, using the player below. You can subscribe to all future editions on iTunes or Stitcher (and browse my archive of podcasts here).

marne titchenellq&a: preventing deer damage with ohio state’s marne titchenell

 

 

Q. I know that “know thy enemy” is one of the prongs of success that you preach in wildlife control. Let’s start with getting to know the white-tailed deer, which east of the Rocky Mountains and actually most everywhere in the country except the Southwest, I believe, is the primary deer species In North America. Many animals haven’t done so well with human development, but why have deer done so well?

A. You’re right. First of all we’re talking about a very adaptive species. It doesn’t take them long to figure out the resources they need to survive and where to find those resources. They coexist with us very, very well.

What’s interesting about white-tailed deer, if you look back at their history in Ohio, for example, there was a time back in the early 1900s where there weren’t any deer—they were extirpated, which means they were no longer existing in an area they once occupied. A lot of that had to do with changing landscape and hunting pressures, but the point being that in 1923 they were introduced here, and only a short 20 years later, their populations had been doing well enough to allow hunting.

So this is a species that has a very successful reproductive strategy and is very good at finding the resources it needs to survive. When we look at Ohio, for example, there are great resources. When we look across the landscape, deer need a nice mix of open habitats as well as forested habitats, and we provide that.

When you look at the foods that they are eating, the Midwest is huge as far as agriculture and that provides a good food source for those deer.

Q. Oh, they do love those fields of food.

A. Oh, yes. And then when you start looking at our backyard, no matter if we’re urban or rural, whether we’re landscaping or gardening, we are providing food sources for deer. They capitalize on it.

Q. And it’s high-value food, too.

A. Very nutritious food, yes.

Q. I was reading about the white-tailed deer and its range, and saw a fact sheet from Texas where in the Texas Hill Country they claim more white tails than anywhere. It’s a very wide-ranging animal that succeeds in a lot of different areas. Here I am in New York State, in an agricultural area, and in the winter I can see in the cornfield across from me herds of 40 or 45 animals—that’s why I have that fence. [Laughter.]

A. There are definitely parts of Ohio that are experiencing the same kinds of deer pressure.

Q. And other areas as well, where listeners are located. Everyone says, “I’ve got deer.” How much do they eat? They seem like eating machines.

A. They are. They are the largest herbivore that we have in this part of the country, and they have to eat a lot of food to keep going—about 7 to 10 pounds of vegetation per day. They’re browsers, so they’re mostly focusing on leaves and buds and branches of mostly deciduous (but not always) trees.

They’re eating a lot of food. They’ve been documented as eating 500 different species of plants. They’re not picky, and they’re especially not picky when they are hungry.

Q. Does their diet differ by season? Of course there are different plants out there, but…

A. Yes, and that really dictates it: It’s what is available to them. Obviously during the spring and summer, they’re really focusing on that green vegetation. But once the growing season is over, and we go into fall and winter, they really focus on woody vegetation; they eat a lot of branches and bark. Though depending where they are, fruit from trees, such as acorns, can be a very important source for them as well.

But yes, they definitely do switch their diet depending what’s available.

Q. So now, let’s talk about sex, Marne. [Laughter.]

A. All right. [Laughter.]

1399053-photo-by-manfred-mielke-pptQ. But really, it’s critical when trying to outsmart any animal, to understand its natural history and life cycle, and sex is a big part of it. And around this time, in the fall, some of the big damage can be done, especially to the woody plants—and all having to do with sex drive, I think.

A. You’re exactly right. This is perfect timing—here the breeding season starts in October, and goes through December and peaks in November. There are a lot of things going on at this time that does impact the amount of damage that we see.

Number 1, the breeding season known as rut often causes and increase in movement, especially in male deer, as they’re searching for females. You are going to see them moving out a little bit from their normal home ranges–so that could potentially increase the amount of damage.

They’re also increasing their food consumption this time of year, in preparation for winter. So that’s going to be a lot more pressure on food sources around our homes, as well as on natural food sources such as acorns.

5033041-joseph-obrien-usda-forest-serviceOf course you have the males that are getting ready for the breeding season, polishing up those antlers to make them look all nice and shiny for the females. That’s when we start to see rubbing damage, and we’ve already seen some of that—sometimes it starts as early as August and lasts through September. That’s the males rubbing that velvet off their antlers in preparation for the breeding season.

What a lot of folks don’t know is that type of rubbing damage can continue through the breeding season—through December and sometimes into January. What’s going on there is the males have glands in their foreheads, and they will rub them on trees, leaving a scent mark, and that serves a communication, communicating their presence and their social status to other males in the area. So that is damage we can see continuing through the breeding season; lots going on.

Q. You brought a smile to my face when you were talking about the males being on the move looking for females. Last fall a male bull moose was walking down the road here—and if you’ve never seen one, that’s an insane-looking thing. Talk about big herbivores—it weighed some ridiculous amount like 700 pounds. [Laughter.]

A. I will never forget the first time I saw moose rubbing damage. It was like 8 or 9 feet up on the tree. [Laughter.] I thought, “Whoa, you don’t see that with deer.” It wasn’t that high up—but it was much higher than I am used to seeing with deer.

Q. If people have put in trees and shrubs, for example new fruit trees, this can be substantial damage—this is not nothing. And the animals are strong, really physical, pushing against the trees. Are the bucks polygamists?

A. Yes, and often when we talk about population management, we always stress focusing on the females, the one who reproduce. The males will mate with as many females as they can.

Q. He’s a man about town—and they have no natural predators.

A. Here in the Midwest, we got rid of the predators when we moved in—predators that would have helped us manage the deer population.

Q, So here we are, attempting agriculture or horticulture, and let’s talk about steps we can take. First we must correctly assess the damage and make sure we know who it is. How do we know it’s deer damage?

deer browse and rubA. One of the things to really do is get down and look at the damage—look at what is left on the plants. You’re going to be looking for some jagged edges. That has to do with the deer’s dentition. They have bottom incisors but nothing on top, so they are going to grasp a plant and pull it, and that plant’s going to tear–no matter what part of the plant it is, leaf or branch. [Above, jagged edges on herbaceous plants; buck rubbing on tree trunks.]

So if you do see those jagged edges behind, and if you contrast that to something like rabbit damage, where they have those sharp incisors, it’s going to be very apparent in the difference.

You’re looking for that, and you’re also looking for where the damage is occurring. Keep in mind that deer are large animals, so they’re often going to be feeding from the top down or from the sides of larger shrubs.

If you’re having a lot of damage down near the ground, or from the ground up to about 2 feet, it could be rabbit. Observe where that damage is occurring, and what it looks like.

Q. Then you have reminded me when we have spoken previously that we have to create a toolbox—of tactical tools. We don’t just run willy-nilly around, trying different things, but we have to get serious and strategic. The toolbox has five dimensions—from lethal (like deer hunting), to exclusion, repellents, scare tactics and habitat modification. We can skip the subject of hunting and start with exclusion.

A. I talk about exclusion on two fronts—first is individual plant protection. That really applies when you’re coming into the fall and winter and the breeding season, when you have those antler rubs, that you protect your trees.  You can use a tree shelter, which you can buy commercially, or you can use chicken wire to create a barrier around that tree, so deer can’t come up and rub that tree. That’s something we can implement.

Q. How high and low?

A. You want to go up at least 4 feet—4 to 5 feet tall. For shrubs and smaller plants like that, you can sometimes use netting to cover those trees. One gentleman said he used the mesh grid Christmas lights, and he placed it over one shrub, and that shrub didn’t suffer any damage, but all the other ones did. Just creating a barrier can really help to deter the animal.

So that’s individual plant protection. On a larger scale would be putting up a fence. They can be costly and time-consuming, so I really encourage folks to think about what it is that you are trying to protect. What is the value of those things, and can you turn around and really make that fence worth it?

Sometimes you can; sometimes you can’t.

Q. I’m a serious gardener; I have public open days and so on. It’s my profession. And it’s a couple of acres of garden, and there would be nothing there. I’m surrounded by a 5,000-acre state park, with giant herds of deer—so there was no choice. But there are sometimes choices—like if deer get into a vegetable garden in season, or if people have a particularly sensitive area like conifers that look tasty in winter, that they want to fence off.

What are some of the more DIY-ish inexpensive options? I saw your peanut-butter fence and so on.

deer-a6A. The peanut-butter fence is excellent, and I will say right up front that it is an electric fence, and depending where you are there are codes and ordinances against those in some communities and cities. But if you’re able to do it, it’s great. It can be a simple one- or two-strand electric fence. It’s called the peanut-butter fence because you take a little bit of tin foil, you wrap it around the wire, and you put a little peanut butter on it. [Diagram from Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management.]

What that does is it encourages the deer to touch its nose or tongue to that peanut butter in that foil strip, which is electrically charged, so they get that zap on a very vulnerable part. It does not cause permanent harm to the animal, but it will keep them away from that area. It’s a very simple fence; it’s not permanent. It can be put up and taken down even around small areas.

But even as far as non-electric fences, using plastic mesh or snow fence around smaller areas can be just as effective, using fence posts or rebar or whatever you have accessible. Just creating that barrier around those areas temporarily, like if you’re having high pressure in those areas coming into the winter.

Q. You can create a fenced-off area that’s temporary, DIY, and you can re-use the materials each year. With that peanut-butter fence you can do two strands, a low and a high—like 8 and 30 inches.

A. Yes, roughly, just to bolster that protection.

Another thing we should mention with fencing or any of these management options, is that you really have to have a good idea of your deer pressure. Are you sustaining a lot of damage, or not?

If you want to no question keep deer out, you want a fence to be 8 feet tall. I’m not staying you have to put an 8-foot fence to protect a small cluster of trees; you might get away with a 5-foot fence. It just depends on the deer pressure, and how dependent they are on the food source you are trying to protect.

Q. The needier they are, the more motivated they are to outsmart you and your fence.

So exclusion is the first tool—and it’s non-toxic, and either reusable or permanent. What’s the next tool?

A. Another one that I commonly talk about with homeowners would be repellents. That would be using a chemical—sometimes manmade, sometimes a naturally occurring chemical—and it is repelling the animal away, usually from a food source.

There are repellents that smell really bad, and repellents that taste really bad—and then there are some that do both. With deer the ones that seem to work best are ones that have eggs in them.

I encourage people when you’re looking for a deer repellent, pick it up, flip it over and look for that label, and that active ingredient. Look for eggs. Or the other ingredient would be hot pepper—which may be called capsaicin, which is just what makes hot peppers hot.

You’ll see a lot of commercially available repellents using both of those active ingredients. That’s because that’s what researchers are saying works best.

Q. With repellents, do the deer habituate to them—get used to them?

A. Yes.

Q. Because they have to taste it–like with the peanut-butter fence, they say, “Oh, I don’t want to do that again!” and that’s behavior modification. But in the case of putrescent egg solids or hot pepper, what happens?

A. It all goes back to what I said before: how heavy your deer pressure is, and how dependent they are on your food source. With repellents the general rule of thumb is that if you are sustaining a lot of deer damage, don’t waste your time with repellents. It’s either telling you that you have a lot of deer in your area, or they’re very dependent on your food source.

Usually repellent are best suited to light to moderate pressure from deer. Sometimes that’s just because there is another food source they can go to if yours tastes or smells bad.

Q. And repellents can add up cost-wise—you have to repeat the spray.

A. When you’re using and form of pesticide you want to read the label—and there is lots of good information in there. How often to reapply so it’s effective; if it’s rain-resistant or not. Definitely read that label and follow the instructions to be as effective as you can.

Q. There are some favorite plants—and of course there are listeners all over the country, so the desired plants vary—but Arborvitae, for instance, sounds like deer candy. Others?

deer chartA. There are lists out there of deer-resistant plants, and if you are having deer pressure, swapping out some of the more preferred, like Arborvitae, out for something less preferred, is another tool in the toolbox.  And then incorporate repellents into your plan as well, especially when used on those less-palatable plants, where there is a higher success rate. [My page of links to regional lists of deer-resistant plants; above, a screenshot from a page in Rutgers’ search tool.]

Arborvitae is very popular, your fruit trees, Rhododendron, winter creeper—despite the number of plants deer do eat, they definitely prefer ones over others.

Q. You can at least make yourself at least a little less of a neon sign. [Laughter.]

A. Yes, be proactive—and if what you’re putting out there is attractive, that you’re going to have to shop for some repellents or another tool.

Q. One more thought: What really frightens me more than whether they eat someone’s backyard rose bush is that deer over-browsing influences forest regeneration, isn’t it?

A. It’s hard to wrap that up in a few seconds, because there is so much life in our forest understories. The food that is out there that the deer are eating, down to the forest floor, is a source for so many other vertebrates and invertebrates in our forests. Without that, they have huge impacts.

And then when you start talking about invasive plant species that are colonizing these disturbed areas—forests that are heavily impacted or browsed by deer can be perfect sites for invasive species. So it’s sort of a double whammy. Definitely a big issue.

more on deer and smaller animal control

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MY WEEKLY public-radio show, rated a “top-5 garden podcast” by “The Guardian” newspaper in the UK, began its seventh year in March 2016. In 2016, the show won three silver medals for excellence from the Garden Writers Association. It’s produced at Robin Hood Radio, the smallest NPR station in the nation. Listen locally in the Hudson Valley (NY)-Berkshires (MA)-Litchfield Hills (CT) Mondays at 8:30 AM Eastern, rerun at 8:30 Saturdays. Or play the Oct. 10, 2016 show right here. You can subscribe to all future editions on iTunes or Stitcher (and browse my archive of podcasts here).

 

(Photos: Stripped bark off tree by Manfred Mielke, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org; buck in field by Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org; buck rub by Joseph OBrien, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org; row of rubbed trees by David Mooter, Prairie Silvics, Inc., Bugwood.org)

  1. Ruben Castro says:

    Thank you both for all the great information that you provide, not only on deer but also in gardening, holticulture and arboretum. I live on the eastern shore of Virginia and I live on the country next to a field and I have had the same experiences with deer on my garden and damaging fruit trees and others. I depend on what we grow every year because that help us tremendously on our low income also the privilege of knowing what you are eating is the result of your hard labor. Few years ago I star hunting deer because also help me and my family to with the cost of meat on my low anual income to bring food to the table and help us a lots, not only that but also to balance the ecosystem on deer management due to there is no predators where I live but us. The problem we have here is that there is no much land and is hard to get permission to hunt on private properties due to there is plenty hunters here where I live, hunting clubs are too expensive for me out of my reach, and there is so many of them here that are out of state hunters. but as a hunter I also worried about the deer population because we don’t have those big numbers of herds like you both mention like in Texas or Ohio or other states. the herds that I see here are small herds of 4 to 6 deer 8 tops. I have never seeing a herd of 30 or 40 deer in my life. Other problem that we have here is there are plenty pouchers, killing wild life illegally, shutting from the roads on their vehicles at any time of the day or night. Law enforcement don’t do much here because they ether friends or family members. I have call plenty times the dgif to report crimes and it went no where. This hurts me on so many ways that I want to help and cooperate with the deer population but not like this, like I said before me and my family depend on deer meat to eat trough the year but the resources are getting smaller on numbers, I have tough to even go hunting to another states where the population is higher to help balance the population but also helping my family on bringing food home. The problem I have is I don’t know no one on these states to let me hunt there and even here it is hard because like I mention before too, you have to be friend or a family member. Thanks again for all the information that you provide to us.

  2. Ruben says:

    Thank you both for all the great information that you provide, not only on deer but also in gardening, holticulture and arboretum. I live on the eastern shore of Virginia and I live on the country next to a field and I have had the same experiences with deer on my garden and damaging fruit trees and others. I depend on what we grow every year because that help us tremendously on our low income also the privilege of knowing what you are eating is the result of your hard labor. Few years ago I star hunting deer because also help me and my family to with the cost of meat on my low anual income to bring food to the table and help us a lots, not only that but also to balance the ecosystem on deer management due to there is no predators where I live but us. The problem we have here is that there is no much land and is hard to get permission to hunt on private properties due to there is plenty hunters here where I live, hunting clubs are too expensive for me out of my reach, and there is so many of them here that are out of state hunters. but as a hunter I also worried about the deer population because we don’t have those big numbers of herds like you both mention like in Texas or Ohio or other states. the herds that I see here are small herds of 4 to 6 deer 8 tops. I have never seeing a herd of 30 or 40 deer in my life. Other problem that we have here is there are plenty pouchers, killing wild life illegally, shutting from the roads on their vehicles at any time of the day or night. Law enforcement don’t do much here because they ether friends or family members. I have call plenty times the dgif to report crimes and it went no where. This hurts me on so many ways that I want to help and cooperate with the deer population but not like this, like I said before me and my family depend on deer meat to eat trough the year but the resources are getting smaller on numbers, I have tough to even go hunting to another states where the population is higher to help balance the population but also helping my family on bringing food home. The problem I have is I don’t know no one on these states to let me hunt there and even here it is hard because like I mention before too, you have to be friend or a family member. Thanks again for all the information that you provide to us.

  3. Melinda says:

    Do you think you could do an article on what plant eating looks likes relative to more common wildlife in garden areas: rabbits, deer, possums, squirrels, etc. I have had a pomegrante tree decimated by something that eats it as high as 4’+ above the ground. The bited marks are diagnoal and clean cut. It looks like someone used pruning sheers all over the tree. I know that didn’t happen. None of the damage is shredded or jagged. This tree is inside a deer fenced area. I put music out during the night next to the tree and the damage stopped. I guess the creature doesn’t like electronic Indie music! I love your website. Thank you for all you do for your readers. I’m out in Northern California in the Sierra Nevada Foothills.

  4. Louise says:

    Today I went to the porch to dig a few of the tuberous begonia’s from the window boxes. The prettiest one was gone. We had them there all summer. No animals bothered them. But I wonder if a human or deer would have pulled the whole plant out.

    I clicked to see the deer resistant plants in PA from the hyperlink. I realized I planted most of them. I ususally search to see if a plant I am buying is deer resisitant. Thanks for always having the best information.

    1. Tom says:

      I had some tuberous begonias in a hanging pot in my backyard this summer, and one day looked out the back window and a squirrel was hanging head down, digging in the pot. Caught him at it again several times, and then there were no more begonias. I had never read anything about this that I remember. Squirrels will eat begonias.

  5. Sally Schroeder says:

    We have roses, and the deer go right down the row and eat the buds. Have tried all kinds of sprays etc., even coyote urine. Nothing works. We live in town, but have a ravine nearby.
    Fortunately our city has just authorized a fall deer hunt with bow & arrow. One deer in the yard is cute, 12 or 15 are a disaster.

    1. Jane Sherrott says:

      I looked at photographs of the businesses that keep coyotes for urine production. The animals are caged so they can collect the urine. This seems like an unhappy situation for the animals. so perhaps it’s better to use the egg or herbal smelling ones. We have a deer and two fawns in the yard every day and I find they naturally don’t like herbal-smelling plants like agastache. If you haven’t seen this plant, perhaps look for it- it is a terrific looking and long-blooming plant with cultivars in a wide range of heights and colors including peaches, yellows and blues. A garden bed with silver-foliaged, , white-flowering heather (Calluna vulgaris ‘Velvet Fascination’), periwinkle blue, small daisy-like flowers of erigeron, catmint, wispy silver blue of agatavhe and Mexican feather grass blooms for almost two months, is easy care and remains uneaten. Then you can just spray roses and other plants they can’t resist.

  6. Vicki says:

    I have had great success with The Yard Enforcer, it’s a motion activated sprinkler. I have two and my garden was epic this year! The deer didn’t get my blackberries, beans, tomatoes or anything. I was amazed. It has settings for on all the time, not only or day only. Between this and putting fishing line around my garden, it has been the envy of the neighborhood.

    1. Janice says:

      Hi Vicki,
      Can you tell me more about how you use the fishing line…specifically how and where you place it in the garden? Thank you.

  7. KarenJ says:

    We are country dwellers, with many acres of woods adjacent, including state forest. So lots of deer. My garden and orchard relies on physical barriers on the most part. I don’t have much luck with repellents.

    The problem with “deer resistent” plants is, each deer takes a bite and then says “yuck!” After 20+ deer, not much is left. In summer, even the Viburnum, Physocarpus and Amelanchier are neatly nibbled on. Once they get more than 4 or 5 feet tall it’s not quite so bad, but they all end up a nice vase shape. Winter time, every bush and tree gets protection, at least of the trunk.

    Most years they leave the lavender alone, but sometimes even it, chives, sage, and thyme are all pawed out of the snow and eaten.

    We’ve put in a five foot tall fence this year, which should discourage them in summer at least. Once we get dogs, that should help too….

  8. Sheri says:

    My back garden is deer & low rodent-high rodent safety fenced, all installed & built on a poured cement bulkhead which makes it easy to dead-line to keep slug & snail from entering. The front yard “smorgasbord” is planted for wild animals and birds and even has Alba roses and a deer sleep spot with thick cedar chips. The deer are great pruners and the Alba roses only need to be shaped trimmed once a year. My deer/rodent fenced backyard garden & small orchard has a “living deer fence” of roses, marionberry and blackberry. The deer keep it trimmed-up on their side and it gives them something to munch as they gaze lovingly at my green beans but in about another 2 years I’ll have complete privacy from the fence growth. I would say that 99.9% of my neighbor’s do not have deer fenced gardens and they are constantly complaining about the deer. I’ve seen neighbor’s sink over 75 thousand dollars into a yard to see it get eaten-up by deer along with their pets that are constantly attacked & eaten by the coyote population and a racoon bite can kill a cat or dog. It’s just my backyard that I’ve fenced, my 3 kitties waited 11 years for this yard and it’s a whole different world back there for all of us. All of my roses in back have been brought to me from neighbor’s who just gave-up trying to grow them, same with the blueberry bushes. I bought all the materials for the project, hired a cement crew to form & pour the bulkhead and they placed PVC pipe every 6 feet in the form for the fence poles. I hired a local young man to install the fence wire & gates. I leveled & set all the fence poles, help with the fencing install and did all the rodent fencing myself. It was worth every dollar I spent and watching your pets experience their first sunset with the sky over their heads is something I will never forget.

    1. KarenJ says:

      Wow. That’s a lot of work, kudos! I like that you leave some of your yard for the wildlings. It’s not a problem here, with all the woods around us, but cover can be so important for critters.

      We individually fence the raised beds as required by the crop for the year, and each fruit tree gets deer fenced (and the base is protected from winter rodents) until they are big enough to just need trunk rubbing protection. Evergreens are still getting deer fence around them, not sure how much the spruces would get trimmed by starving deer in December and January.

      My problem is, even with a securely fenced yard, we will have threats on the pets (and chickens, if we ever have a few) from above. The hawks are bad enough but we also have lots of bald eagles as we are on the Mississippi. Neighborhood free-roaming kitties never stay around very long here.

      For all of that, our rabbit pressure is much lower than it was in town since we have all the predators (hawk, eagle, owl, coyote, fox, weasel…..) We get a lot of voles and mice though.

      1. Sheri says:

        Hi Karen, I do have Great Horned Owl, Bald eagle, hawks, falcon and osprey here but so far I haven’t had a problem with them going after my kitties. I think it’s because as the garden has grown the trees & trellises make it to much of an obstacle for landing & take-offs. My neighbor topped a large salt pine in her yard and the branches have become a nice perch for a local falcon but so far it only goes after smaller birds. If I ever have an issue I’ll take thick gauge fishing wire and cross it from the fence to the house upper deck and obstruct any flight pattern. At an older home we lived the quail used our backyard to dust but were attacked by a hawk one day. I bought several bags of 4 foot bamboo stakes and made a “bamboo jungle” by inserting one every 2 feet and staggering all the following rows. You could do something like this to protect chickens. About your voles & mice…you need a kitty!

  9. sglady says:

    Here, in our Sonoma neighborhood, the deer roam at will and I would have nothing in our yard if I didn’t take steps to protect my plants. We have 6 ft fencing and you’re correct that it isn’t tall enough to stop a motivated deer. I’m in the process of planting deer resistant shrubbery (as is my neighbor on the other side) with the goal of making the barrier wide and tall… hopefully the additional width will make it harder for the deer to clear the fence. I also have used with great success the motion activated sprinkler (yard enforcer) to protect my vegetable garden. I know people who have used the fishing line fence but it seems cruel to me (maybe not that desperate) but have used the pepper spray on seedlings especially to give them a chance to get rooted before they have to take their chances. Tried the egg spray (purchased at farmers market) and it kept everything and everyone away…even me! Thanks for the article…think the peanut butter fence sounds like one to try!

  10. Loretta says:

    I’ve seen dear, getting entangled in fishing wire and also children’s soccer cages. Please tell your audience to check the expenses often in case anything is caught in them.

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