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  • Writer's pictureBlake Nursery


Updated: Oct 4, 2023

Deer were always adored by us until we planted an apple orchard. When we saw how quickly word got out to their kin that Blake's cafeteria had the finest fare in town, we got wise. We'd like to help spare you from the devastation deer cause by advising you to take necessary precautions from the outset.

A few things to try are repellents, noise, or a fence. To begin, there are countless repellent products on the market that smell and/or taste yucky to deer. They are derived from coyote or mountain lion urine, garlic, blood meal, and processed sewage - to name just a few. Some are effective, but only over a limited time period. They can never be totally relied upon since many have to be reapplied when you might not be available to do so. We’ve had our best success with Liquid Fence, a garlic based repellent which discourages browsing by emitting an offensive odor (luckily this odor is persistent to deer, but not to humans).

Some gardeners try noise as a deterrent, but deer usually aren't fooled for long. They get used to a particular noise and then it is no longer effective. We know our barking, seemingly threatening dogs do an excellent job of terrorizing deer who consider dining in our yard, but at times they've been "off duty" and the browsers have moved right in.

Creative Deer Fencing!

Let's face it, the best physical deterrent is a fence. Some people prefer electric fencing. Some tie white flagging as a more visual deterrent onto some of the wire strands. Others prefer an impenetrable woven wire or polypropylene, whose height will vary according to the lay of the land - i.e. if deer can get a running leap at it your fencing will have to be at least 8 feet tall. Fencing doesn't necessarily mean your yard will resemble Alcatraz. For sure some materials are less obtrusive than others.

PVC Coated Chainlink Deer Fencing

If repellents, noise deterrents and fencing aren't solutions to your deer problems, try plants that are deer-resistant. We can't offer you a 100% guarantee that deer won't touch them - when push comes to shove deer seem to eat the unimaginable including the most menacingly thorny roses, but we suggest the following plants for Montana landscapes since by most accounts they are not preferred menu items. It must be said however that deer are fickle creatures, so one year Red-twig Dogwood might be passed over, but the next consumed as if it were candy. And starving deer don't care what they eat, so when the Bambis in your neighborhood are having a rough winter with native vegetation in short supply, it's time to anticipate more plant damage than usual. And remember this: deer are decidedly attracted to plants that have been boosted with nitrogen. So keep those preferred plants lean and mean - don't feed them with nitrogen fertilizer.

Metal Pipe Deer Fence

And by the way, the good news we want to share with you is that after 10 years of fencing our orchard, deer now roam throughout it and totally ignore the trees. That's because they're no longer tender and tasty. There is indeed a silver lining.....! Yes, planning and perseverance pay.


Deer-Resistant Plants

FRUITING SHRUBS (Click arrow to expand)

SHRUBS (Click arrow to expand)

VINES (Click arrow to expand)

EVERGREENS (Click arrow to expand)

PERENNIALS (Click arrow to expand)

GROUND COVER (Click arrow to expand)

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