Oh, Deer – Damage and Prevention

Deer Eating LawnWhile the three mammals we covered last week are some of the most common hazards to your lawn, there’s one more we need to talk about – deer. With a population close to 25 million across the United States, they are hazards on the roads, and are capable of chewing up lawns and gardens thoroughly. We all know what deer look like, but what kind of damage can they do and how can you stop them from ruining your hard work?

Deer Damage

Deer will eat all sorts of vegetation ranging from grass and hay, to flowers, up through fruits and vegetables. Some of their favorite things to eat include strawberries, corn, even the tender pieces of young trees. This makes your backyard a deer buffet, and they love to take advantage of all-you-can-eat opportunities.

It’s not just through eating that they cause damage, as they will stomp all over the lawn and garden, kicking around plants and compacting the soil. Bucks will also rub at the trees with their antlers, and can potentially tear the bark off of the bottom few feet of them. This can cause growth issues with the trees, as well as opening them up to potential infection or extra wear and tear from the environment.

Preventing Deer Damage

Unfortunately, deer are intelligent, agile, and resilient, meaning that they can be difficult to keep away from your lawn and garden. Fences, electric or conventional, are mildly effective. Deer have the ability to leap a few feet to clear a fence, so higher is better – six feet high or so is preferable. The fence should also be kept back from the food source so the deer can’t poke their snouts through and get to the food.

Deer repellants are effective, but also tend to drive everyone else off as well. They have quite the odor, so they are not particularly handy in areas where humans will want to be. Contact repellants are a little easier to tolerate, and tend to be more effective, than area repellants. Look for environmentally-safe repellants that are biodegradable and pet- and child-friendly.

For the trees, deer guards are available that protect the trees and foliage below four feet in height. Studies have found that deer tend to browse under the level of four feet, so protecting trees and plants below this level should keep the deer away from those specific plants.

There are a handful of home remedies that have been shown to be mildly effective. Bars of soap and human hair produce odors that cause deer to be cautious. Pie tins that catch the wind and bang around will cause audible deterrents, while scarecrows, glass, and mirrors will play with light and spook the deer.

Take these ideas into consideration if you find yourself having to deal with herds of deer – if you see one, there’s definitely more around.


About AndrewT

Written by Andrew T for LawnEq - The specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable brands.

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