In our area, there has been a significant increase in the deer population. Hmmm. I wonder why?
Well, other than they are fond of each other, it could be because of the state of our economy. One minute we’re ready to build and develop. The next minute we have to take a break because nobody can afford to move. And yet another moment we decide we are too humane to control the deer population with non-humane techniques.
They are just deer…they don’t make decisions for themselves. We have to decide what the best approach is for our individual deer situations.
Here are a few things to consider and use interchangeably when attempting to limit the deer from consuming your entire landscape:
Population Management—No it’s not a dirty word, but sometimes does not get the open-minded consideration other options may enjoy. If you are in a community with this option, you may want to get together with your neighbors and consider this. There are recommended deer/acre guidelines and surveys that can help you and your community decide if this is the right path. Contact MD DNR Wildlife Division for assistance.
Fencing— Nothing dirty about this word. It’s a safe method of control and it doesn’t have to be fancy. It just has to be about 4’ high. The taller the fence, the more discouraged they will become and move on. Low-profile netting for your annuals/perennials can be purchased at a garden center. Invisible dog fences work as well…if they come with a dog that is charging toward them…
Vegetation Management—This is the best way to control the deer around your home if other methods are out of your reach, or control. Making a change in the buffet items will make the deer go to the place next door. You can access plenty of ‘deer-resistant’ plant information online. Most landscapers are well-versed in what works and what doesn’t in the field. I often recommend giving the deer something to feed on at the wood’s edge to try and discourage feeding close to the house. I do not have confirmation that this method works just yet…
Pesticide use—This is my least favorite method, but I have had positive feedback regarding the performance of the deer sprays. If you have a landscape that you just can’t part with, and do not care for the netting method, this might be the route for you. However, it’s very interactive and can become costly to use affectively. If an entire community is using spray repellant, deer may become immune to the taste/smell and continue feeding.
There is no blanket solution to the deer problem we have created, compounded, and irritated with the evolution and movement of construction. Making a Wildlife Management Plan for your individual landscape can reduce your stress and let you enjoy your garden again! Good Luck!