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HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW: Tips for deterring deer from …

Editor’s note: How Does Your Garden Grow is a series the Gazette will feature again this growing season, provided by master gardener Ken Oles of Wrentham. He will discuss various backyard gardening topics, and answer your gardening questions.

 

Q: Are there any steps that I can take to prevent deer from ruining my vegetable garden and causing damage to low-hanging tree branches and shrubs?

A: White-tailed deer are native herbivores that cause much damage to plants and continue to be a problem in our New England gardens in the city as well as in the country.  Their numbers have dramatically increased over the past decades due to a lack of natural predators, fragmented landscapes (think of local farmland that has been developed), and changing social values about hunting.  

White-tail deer may use a variety of habitats, including woodlands, meadows, and marshy areas, but they are opportunists and suburban development with its mixture of trees, shrubs and lawns provide a safe, predator-free environment.

In suburban gardens and backyards, landscaping provides excellent deer forage and growth of deer herds is unchecked, resulting in unrecoverable damage to our gardens, shrubs and trees. 

In our forests, overgrazing by deer alters natural habitats and affects other wildlife while contributing to the rampant spread of invasive plant species.  Barriers and some repellents are effective, but in a severe natural food dearth, they may not prevent foraging.

While some plants, such as hostas (often referred to as “deer candy”) are preferred and are regular fare, other plants are never touched.  In vegetable gardens, the best deterrence is a tall fence.  I have witnessed deer bounding over a 7-foot high fence from a standing posture!  The most effective repellents have rotten eggs and garlic as part of their ingredients and will need to be applied every two weeks or sooner during the growing season if there is heavy or extended precipitation. 

When choosing ornamentals for your landscape, choose deer-resistant varieties and protect them during severe deer pressure.

 

Ken Oles is a Wrentham resident and a life member of the URI Master Gardener Association (www.urimastergardeners.org). He is also the coordinator for the Harvests from the Heart community garden in Wrentham that produces fresh produce for the Wrentham Food Pantry. Ken is a member of the board of directors and co-president of Masschusetts Agriculture in the Classroom. He can be reached at wrenthamgarden@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

 

Article source: http://franklin.wickedlocal.com/news/20160924/how-does-your-garden-grow-tips-for-deterring-deer-from-gardens-damaging-trees