How I Keep My Stinking, “Deer” Friends Away for the Summer

My first flower from the bulbs I planted a couple years ago!

My first flower from the bulbs I planted a couple years ago!

Spring has officially sprung! What a great weekend this has been! The sun is shining, its warm, and the Adirondack chairs have made their place out in my back yard! It’s been so great to get the raking done in the yard. I have been a “weekend warrior” of sorts, and now I am ready to crash! But before I do, I wanted to follow-up with where I left off when the snow really started to fly. Yes, our friends, the deer. In January, I explained how you keep them at bay during the winter, by covering up everything that means a lot to you in your garden.

Now the spring/summer season is a little different. You don’t cover stuff in the warm months, so here is how you can keep your gardens looking super lush and beautiful, while your neighbors get all chewed up (true story hehe)….

When I first started noticing that more and more deer were making their home in our neighborhood, particularly my yard, I needed to find out what I could do, without harming them, that would be a deterrent. So, I went to my neighborhood farm store and picked up a couple of different formulas: “Deer B Gone”, and “Liquid Fence”. Both were two different formulas that worked great. Deer B Gone is a formula of eggs and cinnamon and a couple of other spices, Liquid Fence contains eggs and smells awful at application, but once it dries, it does not stink. There is also blood meal, but that smells atrocious, and your neighbors don’t appreciate you much after applying that. No matter, these products work, and you should consider them as part of your “deer be gone” routine.

However, when it’s the peak of the growing season, and you have lots of plants like I do, deer repellents such as these can end up costing you a fortune. One bottle of each of these formulas cost at least $15, and to make sure I covered everything I needed to, I could go through one bottle in just one evening! If you have a small garden, then buying natural solutions are the way to go for you.

So, I was now on the hunt for a homemade deer repellent that was all natural and would save me lots of money. I just happened to be reading one of my gardening magazines that said eggs and water were all you needed. With a few other tips, you will have your neighbors jealous that your Hostas look great and theirs have been eaten down to the stem.

Here you go, tips to a beautiful garden all summer long:

  • Make sure your concoction STINKS — No, really, deer HATE stinky things. Eggs give off a scent that the deer absolutely hate.
    • Other things to consider for your egg and water solution or to use alone include:
      • Cinnamon
      • Cloves
      • Essential Oils
      • Pepper Spray (THANK YOU to one of my readers who told me about this)

There are several different recipes that include different amounts of eggs and water, but this is the one I have been using, and I really don’t have an exact amount. I just make sure I have more water than egg in the solution so it goes on easy and doesn’t end up making a sticky, staining mess. And, it also doesn’t stink with it more parts water than egg.

1. Purchase an empty utility spray bottle from the hardware store.

My cat, again, always has to know what it going on.

My cat, again, always has to know what it going on.

2. Get four eggs and a quart of water.


3. Mix them together with a blender. This is the best way to get a smooth mixture. 


* You don’t need to use this exact amount. There are several different recipes on the internet. Whatever works for you is best. Some VERY IMPORTANT TIPS you must take into consideration:

-Deer get used to your routine. Try to change up your solution after a month or so. For example: I will go with just eggs and water for the first few weeks, and then I will put cloves in for the next month, and the cinnamon the next.

-The peak of summer means you will be spraying your stuff A LOT. The faster the stuff grows, the more you must apply your solution. Again, this all varies, depending on how bad you have deer in your neighborhood. You may be just fine with a once a month application, whereas, for my neighborhood, I was doing it once a week for a little while. They usually stay away for a month or so after you spray.

Other deterrents not in liquid form that work include:

-human hair- pieces of human hair = predators                                                                       -your dog- they scare away predators                                                                                     -hanging bars of soap                                                                                                             –motion lights, or sounds of animals

It’s a lot of work, but worth it to keep the garden you have invested so much time and money into looking wonderful for the whole growing season!

En”Deer”ing Friends and Your Garden – Winter Version

Another cold, winter week goes by, and I have noticed that hats, gloves, coats, mittens and boots wet with puddles dominate the landscape of my whole house. Scarves in the bedroom and living room, coats hung on the dining room chairs — you get the idea. I love winter, I love the change of scenery, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. My daughter loves it too, and plays in it with style:

She couldn't help herself when we got back from the doctor's the other day. Had to play on a snowy swingset!

She couldn’t help herself when we got back from the doctor’s the other day. Had to play on a snowy swing set!

The two aspects I don’t like about winter? Driving in it and deer.

How so you say?

Well, in my neighborhood, we have a severe deer problem. Overpopulation at its finest. They are a year round nuisance, (spring/summer versions will be coming), but they have been proving to be the most destructive in winter for my garden.

Every hunter's dream -- to have this big guy in your back yard!

Every hunter’s dream — to have this big guy in your back yard!

Here’s why:

It’s winter, and food sources are scarce. If it’s a particularly cold winter, they will pretty much eat ANYTHING. Even the “deer resistant” plants that you purchase. They are so hungry, they will eat anything, including thorn bushes at times. They have massacred my holly bush, and that is supposed to be “deer resistant”. I even have chicken wire around it!

You have a bird feeder around. Yes, I have a bird feeder, and this is where I found this “deer” friend 5 o’clock at night on Thanksgiving:

This grainy photo is evidence that my "deer" friends eating out of my bird feeder.

This grainy photo is evidence that my “deer” friends like eating out of my bird feeder.

They will eat your bird seed and then start scoping out the rest of your yard.

What I have learned about bird seed and deer. They tend to like the super cheap stuff you can get in the 20lb. bag for $6 bucks at any store. I have the pricier sunflower seed in my feeders now, and they don’t like that as much. They also do not like thistle seed either. I put some in last year to attract more finches.

So, how do you protect your plants against deer in the winter?

Cover up. Burlap or any other full covering is the best protection in my opinion. I have fenced some other plants, including my holly bush, and they will avoid it as long as they can find other food. Once they can’t find anymore food, they will become aggressive and make their way into the wire. Now, fencing works for bigger things such as trees. Lesson Learned for me: burlap all of the smaller plants and bushes!

If all else fails, just deal with it. If you have done everything on your part to keep the deer away, and they still are making problems for you, just worry about it in the spring when you can actually do something about it. The damage will be minimal if you have covered it up for the most part. Winter itself can do serious damage to your plants, so it’s a trade-off at one point or another. It will grow back, and if it doesn’t, you can always get a new one!

Disclaimer: Deer are really wonderful animals, but they are also very destructive when it comes to your landscape. As a gardener, you spend a lot of time and money trying to make your home and yard look beautiful. The intention of this post is to give you tips on how to deal and live with the deer you have in your neighborhood, without harming them.