Are your outdoor plants providing a steady supply of snacks for the local deer?

Deer are gorgeous, graceful creatures -- a true joy to watch. But, these majestic animals can also pose an incredible nuisance for gardeners. Whether alone or in a small herd, they can wreak havoc on the landscape, munching their way through vegetables, flowers, shrubs and even trees.

Stop Deer from Eating Your Outdoor Plants

Fortunately, experts recommend a few tricks to prevent deer from feasting in the garden.

No. 1: Choose Deer-Resistant Outdoor Plants

While hungry deer may eat just about anything, they tend to avoid prickly and fuzzy foliage. And, they don’t really like heavily fragranced plants, either.

Experiment with different textured and aromatic plants. Try using them as borders for your garden beds. Keep in mind that every herd eats differently, so varieties that deter deer in some areas may not work in others.

No. 2: Place Bar Soap Near Outdoor Plants

To keep deer away, many Utah gardeners turn to ordinary bar soap. The scent is said to interfere with their sensitive sense of smell.

Choose a brand with a powerful fragrance, and hang bars from strings in trees or large shrubs. Or, attach soap bars to stakes and place them around the edges of your garden beds to keep the deer at bay.

No. 3: Scatter Human Hair Around Outdoor Plants

The scent of human hair can also prevent deer from entering a garden.

Ask your barber or hairdresser for some clippings. You may need to sweep them up yourself, but they should be free of charge. Scatter the hair like mulch across your garden beds, or stuff it into pantyhose and hang the deer-deterrent stockings out of sight throughout the landscape.

No. 4: Apply a Deer-Repellant Spray to the Outdoor Plants

As long as you apply them on a routine basis, spray deterrents can help stop deer from eating your plants.

Dozens of commercially-made brands are available, most of which use a foul scent and terrible taste to deter deer. Or, try one of the many recipes for homemade spray repellants. Customers have reported having success with various blends of eggs, hot sauce, garlic and clove oil.

No. 5: Add a Motion Sensor Near the Outdoor Plants

Some gardeners use solar-powered motion sensor units to frighten deer away.

However, a deer herd may quickly come to understand that certain lights and repetitive sounds pose no real threat. Instead, install a motion-triggered device that squirts water or turns on a live radio broadcast.

No. 6: Physically Protect Your Garden Plants Against Deer

A physical barrier is considered to be the most effective method for keeping deer from eating up the landscape.

Plastic netting or floating row covers can protect your plants for a minimal cost. If you’re going to invest in property fencing, though, make sure it’s tall enough – deer can jump up to 8 feet on level ground, and even higher on sloped ground. And, a stockade fence is the best choice, as deer are reluctant to jump over fencing when they can’t see what’s on the other side.

For expert gardening tips and advice, Utah gardeners can trust the friendly staff at Millcreek Gardens. To learn more about growing and protecting outdoor plants, visit us in Salt Lake City today.