For almost five years my solar-powered electric fence has done an awesome job of keeping the deer out of my garden though a physical barrier was needed to keep out Mr. Rabbit. Green plastic mesh fencing that was 3’ high did the trick for many years.
In 2016, my frustrations were more about the increasing amount of shade cast on my veggies by the neighbor’s growing evergreen trees. The plastic mesh fencing got so brittle that the rabbits were breaking right through. The poly wire for the electric fence was broken in several places due to downed tree limbs causing the whole fence to cease functioning. Being lazy, I opted for just adding the “Scarecrow,” a motion activated sprinkler. Mr. Scarecrow was a hard worker, providing dual services: scaring away varmints while watering the garden. But as the plants grew, the spray couldn’t reach through the plant material to all corners of the space and every swaying tomato branch set it off. The ground got so saturated that Mr. Scarecrow just flopped over and writhed and the deer took total advantage of the situation.
Now it is 2017. Evaluation time. Just how much pleasure do I get out of having a vegetable garden? Do I get enough vegetables and bonding-with-nature therapy to devise a new plan this year? While I do love a good project, I was kinda done. But the alternative of a more radical change was a bigger challenge than I cared to take on. With encouragement from my husband, I decided to give it another try.
I replaced the plastic mesh with chicken wire fencing coated with green plastic. It is about 2’ high. I rehung two strands of the poly wire electric fence instead of five. This configuration is actually much more visually appealing than the first couple of iterations of the fence. While it doesn’t keep out squirrels or birds, it has done a good job of keeping out the rabbits and deer. So far this year the biggest threat was from a large section of a neighbor’s white pine that split off and was hovering dangerously over the garden.
I even have some crude video of two deer walking right past the garden two nights ago.
What works to keep deer out of your garden?
I’ve written about my trials with keeping the critters out of my vegetable garden in the past:
- July 30, 2009 I DE-CLARE WAR on deer and rabbits!
- September 1, 2010 Deer- smarter than we give them credit for!
- August 9, 2012 I Declare War on Deer. The Sequel
Find additional advice on dealing with nuisance wildlife in the garden, on the Home & Garden Information website.
By Ria Malloy, Assistant Program Director, Home & Garden Information Center