|No lunch for deer!|
|Written by Chandra L. Mattingly|
|Thursday, February 23, 2012 12:15 PM|
Can you have your deer and landscape, too?
Joyce Hill, a Hidden Valley Lake resident, kept all her plants last summer thanks to a homemade deer repellent. This was the first time ever all her plants survived, despite her use of commercial repellents in the past.
The recipe, created after looking at recipes online and in Birds & Blooms magazine, uses about 3 eggs, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, a teaspoon or so of cayenne pepper and 2 tablespoons of dish-washing detergent, either Palm Olive or Dawn. Measure into a gallon container, then fill the container with water.
Joyce just shakes it up, but recommends using a blender to keep the eggs from clumping in the sprayer, and using a wide-mouth sprayer. Apply to plants about every five days.
“They just can't stand the smell or the heat,” said Joyce, who has spent hundreds of dollars on commercial repellents and found this works far better. Even when it rained or she forgot to spray, the concoction kept the deer from munching on her impatiens and hostas for as long as two weeks.
For Joyce, who enjoys seeing deer up close, but also enjoys her gardening, the mixture has been a blessing.
As for deer-resistant plants, native wildflowers are least likely to be munched.
Bloodroot, trillium, Virginia bluebells, celandine poppies, trout lilies, spring beauties, jack-in-the-pulpit, wild ginger, cranesbill geranium, and Mayapples all do well in good woodland soil and shade. They seem to have no pest problems and most gradually multiply if they like their location. Some of these will be available at my plant sale May 10, 11, 12 & 19 in Rising Sun.
Sun-loving plants most likely to survive include black-eyed Susan, purple coneflower, Shasta daisies or their wild cousins, Oxeye daisies, and asters. Lily of the valley are poisonous and do well in light shade or half sun. (And yes, I'll have these for sale, too.)
Deer may leave the foliage alone and eat the blooms from these plants, as they will do with day lilies. And anytime you set out new plants, they are more likely to be eaten, including young trees. Deer like the slightly wilted foliage and tender new growth.
But that's not the only problem. In deer country, trees need to be protected long term, as bucks shedding the velvet from their antlers can completely debark saplings as they rub the loose covering from their antlers in the fall.
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