It's easy to see the appeal of homemade deer repellents: They can be inexpensive to create, they can be made to order on the spur of the moment without having to visit a store or order through a website, and they can be less harmful to the environment than commercial repellents. However, homemade deer repellents may be less effective against deer than other deterrents, leading to more damaged plants and further homeowner frustration.
Types of Homemade Deer Repellents
Visual and auditory repellents: People have tried scarecrows, wind chimes, and even old compact discs strung together to try to scare deer away from an area. These methods are mostly useless in the battle against foraging deer: Whatever initial fear they put into deer, if any, is quickly overcome by the deer's desire to eat the plants in the area, and the animals quickly learn to ignore passive deterrents.
Fishing line fence: Some gardeners claim that monofilament fishing line, strung up on stakes surrounding valuable plants, is enough to deter deer. The line may deter a casual browser, but more determined deer will find ways over or through the fishing line to reach desirable and tasty plants. Warning: This method can be very dangerous and should never be used.
Scent Repellents: Gardeners may swear by a specific scent to deter deer from an area, but few scents have been proven to reliably deter deer from any garden or orchard. Some have tried air fresheners, urine, slices of deodorant soap, human hair, herbs, mothballs, creosote, cayenne pepper, and rotten eggs. The deterrent value of these concoctions rises if the scents are replenished frequently and rotated every few weeks.
Applying Homemade Deer Repellents
If you want to try a solid homemade deer repellent, put your scent of choice-some use hair, soap, even animal waste-into an open-mesh bag and suspend the bag approximately 28 to 32 inches above the ground near the plants you wish to protect.
For liquid repellents, apply the repellent directly to the plant and surrounding area, and monitor the plant daily to gauge the repellent's effectiveness. Re-apply after heavy rains and when deer appear to be getting accustomed to the scent.
In any case, when considering homemade deer repellents, it's important to begin applying the repellent before deer have damaged the desired plants. After deer have begun feeding on plants in a specific area, it's harder to repel them with scents or visual deterrents. Homemade deer repellents also work best in relatively small areas with relatively light numbers of deer. Homemade deer repellents are also inappropriate for situations in which any damage is to be avoided.
Effective, Inexpensive Deer Repellent
Fencing is the best way to stop deer damage, but to be effective, the fence either needs to be 7 feet tall and staked at the bottom or electric with bait that entices the deer to touch the wires. Effective deer fencing is typically expensive, difficult to install and maintain, and infeasible for many homeowners.
The Wireless Deer Fence® is a patented deer control system that functions much like a baited electric fence, but it is much easier and inexpensive to install and maintain. Wireless Deer Fence® posts are free-standing, small, unobtrusive, aesthetically pleasing, and guaranteed to work.