Solutions we use for DEER PROBLEMS!
With Deer in Pennsylvania being such a problem over the years I have tried many different products. My go to items are listed here and links to where you can buy them as well. Below I describe in detail how I made out with each one. I hope this helps you as they are my GO TO items when deer are wrecking my trees. I would recommend using at least 2 different repellents at the same time on your plants/trees.
In general it seems that if I put repellents out really hard for a year the deer will tend to stay away. Once you can get them on different trails or hangout spots they will seem to stay with what is working. However if you have a neighbor who feeds them or have a corn field by your house you will need to stay on guard more often.
1. Deer/Rabbit Repellent Sticks (garlic)- Well I bought these not hoping for much and WOW they work really well. The main reason we always have a few bags laying around is they are so quick and easy to hang on the trees. They come built with a clip that will easily attach to any tree branch in a second. In my experience I found out they work for about 4-5 months effectively. Depending on your problem pest, rabbits keep low and with deer I always like to place them about 3.5ft high for optimum effectiveness. For deer they work exceptional but on rabbits only so so.
2. Predator Eyes- Light up red led's that are solar powered to simulate a predators eyes at night. I saw these on a suggested search as I was looking to try something out of the box. I can tell you 100% they have zero effect on bunny rabbits as they destroyed another crop of burning bush on me. Now on the deer I'm 50/50 yet. I have had them up for about 1 year at 2 different fields. I have had a 99% decline in all deer damage however I have taken a multi-step approach in using always 2-3 of these items listed at all times. I'm not saying the predator eyes don't help some, I think they may keep the deer away from coming towards the field a little bit seeing those eyes glowing/flashing red. However once they ventured inside and realize no predator is there then I believe its FEEDING TIME. Pros on this is no batteries and they have been running for over a year. Set it and forget it. For the cost it was worth the gamble.
3. Irish Spring Soap- Yes they sell deer repellent soap however trying over a dozen different kinds this has worked the best for me and is the CHEAPEST option of any. It has a about 5 month effectiveness then the soap seems to breakdown and fall apart. I like using this since it's totally safe outdoors around pets, kids, etc. I usually cut the bars in half then drill a hole in the center of the bar of soap. After that I take a "sisal" rope and tie it to a tree about 3.5ft high by placing the rope thru the hole. Sisal rope so you know is just a rope that is biodegradable. Literally after about 6 months it just rots off and falls to the soil where it will breakdown totally. I use the Irish Spring soap every year around October. Typically in a tree field of 500 trees I place it about every 20ft. That seems to do the trick.
4. Deer Sprays- I have tried literally dozens just in the last few years. The "Deer Out" brand is not the most effective of all the sprays I have tried. However when comparing price to effectiveness "Its the best bang for your buck". Now a few cons are deer sprays don't last that long. Typically most sprays last around a month depending on how much precipitation you get. I do have 1 spray that will last almost all winter however it's $200 for only gallon jug. YIKES that is why I can't afford that for large areas to protect! Now the way I use deer spray is by only spraying when deer will be at peak times. During late October/November damage is high and then after any heavy snowfall when food will be scarce thru out the winter. On average I usually only spray about 3-4 times over winter. I also try and mainly use the sprays for the most expensive plants/trees since it's one of the more costly items to use with a short effectiveness. When first applied it is as FULL PROOF as you can get.
5. Granule or Powder Deer Control- Now typically these come with a scooper or shaker container. Simply shake or throw around the base of trees you want to protect. It is super easy using these products and they repel the deer before they get to your prized trees or garden. I have had very good success with these especially the "DEER SCRAM" brand. After an application it seems to last around 4-5 weeks before you may need to reapply. I usually only put this on 2 times. Once going into winter and second around January. I tend to like using this even along property lines to discourage the deer before they even get in my field. This for sure is one of my favorites. Now this will work well in the garden for the summer too, however don't throw it down too heavy as it's a little bit smelly. (not too bad compared to some others I have tried).
*I did not post any reviews or names of the brands I have tried with no luck. I want to keep the blog/website on a more positive note. We will be having much more content coming including how to videos etc. Stay tuned.