Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Oh Deer! Please Don’t Eat The Daisies…

How to Keep Deer from Foraging in Your Garden

Manners are lovely, but they just don’t cut it when it comes to preventing pesky deer from foraging in your foliage!

Imagine this: You spend hundreds of dollars on loading your landscape with beautiful blooms, and you’ve spent months installing trees, shrubs and flowers just exactly how you want it. Then, maybe even without any warning, you wake up one morning and it’s ruined or worse -- it’s gone!

Spring is the time of year that deer damage is most noticeable, particularly as plants awake from months of being dormant and prepare to bloom. Homeowners are seeing deer in their neighborhoods that they’ve never seen before. Wide open spaces are quickly being replaced with huge developments, new homes and loads of new gardens. Deer are literally moving in, living and eating -- right in your back yard.

From a distance deer may be beautiful, graceful even adorable animals, but at night they become garden bandits, flossing their teeth on the rose bushes while snacking through your snapdragons and shrubs enjoying a free meal.

So, how do you begin a spring-through-summer-season-plan to protect your gardens and trees from foraging deer? First, you have to understand the basics:

1. Learn and locate where deer eat.

Deer prefer to feed in open areas near cover. Parks and suburban neighborhoods are the perfect habitat, where rich mixtures of vegetation produce abundant food and cover; open lawns, succulent summer gardens and plentiful ornamental shrubs where patches of trees and brushes provide cover.

Deer opt for variety over quantity, and they prefer tender new shoots and lush foliage, which they find in abundance in your landscaped yards and gardens.

2. Determine the cause of the damage.

Damage to landscape plantings and ornamentals may occur at any time of year, but it's most disheartening when established plants are hearty and in full display. You can determine deer damage caused to plants by the ragged, broken ends of branches of plants and trees that have been browsed through by deer. Deer do not have incisor teeth and the damage they do is easily spotted. The height the damage is found -- up to six feet -- off the ground is another indication that rules out smaller animals and points to deer damage.

3. Assault their sense of security.

As spring and summer set in, it also gives birth to fawns and their noses will lead them to return over and over again to areas where food is tasty, abundant and safe to forage. Their noses will also alert them to nearby danger. Disrupt their sense of security and you've achieved the primary factor for turning deer away. Deer have good memories and they learn from each other. When one deer is continually “turned off” to an area, other deer will be reluctant to enter that area as well.

There are tons of “remedies” to deter deer from wreaking havoc on your gardens. Some can be extremely expensive (fencing), and others are either non-effective or smell so bad we can’t bear to use them!

Messina Wildlife Management offers a pleasant smelling, organic (OMRI certified) deer repellent that is extremely effective at deterring deer. Deer Stopper ( is an all-natural, biodegradable deer repellent that guarantees deer will stop feeding on your prized gardens, shrubs and trees for 45 to 60 days per application. Deer Stopper is a fully organic deer-control product that contains no harmful chemicals or toxins that could hurt the animals, environment and, most importantly, you or your family. Which means it can be applied to edible plants as well. The product sprays on and dries clear. There’s more good news, Deer Stopper actually smells like a day at the spa!

Remember -- deer are creatures of habit. Once they’ve found a food source, they’ll return to it, time and time again. That’s why it’s important to act now to prevent damage by foraging deer. Breaking their pattern by applying Deer Stopper every 45 days to your garden and landscape will deter deer from your backyard all season long. Act now and your chances this spring and summer are great for protecting your prized gardens from foraging deer. And if the deer are bringing friends to dine at your buffet, Messina Wildlife Management makes a full line of repellents for rabbits, squirrels, moles, woodchucks and more!

Deer Stopper is available nationwide at lawn & garden and hardware stores. For more information on Deer Stopper and the rest of Messina Wildlife Management’s repellent line, visit

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