The only way to keep deer at bay is with good deer fences.
It may surprise some people, but deer are not limited to forests. In many areas of the Northwest, the South, the Northeast and elsewhere they are often found in urban settings.
Provided they’re not constantly being harrassed, they’ll happily live a lifetime in neighborhoods that just offer a few shade trees and plentiful bushes.
And… your gardens.
Deer feed on a variety of bushes, plants, flowers and even tree branches. Since they’re cute, people will often add to the menu by erecting feeders and stocking them with sunflower seeds, corn, apples and other things that these animals dearly love.
But deer don’t limit themselves. If a flower is of the species they like, they’ll eat that too. If your favorite bush is part of their diet, it can be gone in a few days. To prevent that requires careful selection of plants and/or a good fence.
What to Look For in Deer Fences
But what’s a ‘good’ deer fence?
The primary requirement is: something tall enough to discourage the deer from jumping over it to get to the plants. The second is: it needs to be strong enough to discourage them from pushing through it. Third, it should be far enough back from the plants to keep the deer from leaning past it to feed.
Similar to rabbit fences, a deer fence need not be as high as the animal can leap. A medium-sized frightened deer, or one really desperate for food, can jump over a five-foot fence. But that height is rarely needed. Even a fence 3 or 4 feet high can often keep them from feeding on flowers they would normally eat in a heartbeat, especially if there’s a feeder nearby offering easier pickings.
Chain link fencing is a relatively inexpensive option and fully strong enough to keep deer away from the plants. But if you go this route, get a design that doesn’t leave sharp spikes at the top. That’s not only dangerous to kids and adults, any deer that leaps over can get caught on the prongs or scraped.
Even if you’re not an animal lover, that’s a result you don’t want. A wounded deer can harm plants, injure anyone nearby and attracts predators such as dogs or large cats. Keep the fence safe for people and the deer and everyone will be better off.
A wooden fence is a good option. But you’ll need to ensure that the slats are placed narrow enough to prevent smaller deer from slipping through. Anything less than a foot will normally suffice.
It will also need to be strong enough to resist pushing. Even a hungry deer is rarely clever enough to push through a fence to get to food. But they’ll lean into one, try to move a head through slats and so forth in order to get to food. Well-sunk posts and good bracing will solve the problem.
Last, make sure your deer fences are far enough back from the plants to serve its purpose. Bushes that grow near the fence won’t prevent deer from feeding near the edge. Keep at least a foot, preferably two, between the fence perimeter and any flowers or other plants that deer like.
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