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5 ways homeowners can minimize damage from deer this fall and winter

  • 11/18/2019 3:10:00 PM
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Not a fan of deer making a quick snack of your backyard plants in the fall and winter? Here are five tips to help homeowners make their trees and shrubs less desirable to deer from November to April:

5 ways to keep deer from eating your backyard trees and shrubs  |  Iowa DNRExclusion
Prevent deer from getting into the area by adding snow fencing, electric fencing or woven wire. Try hanging burlap around young trees to hide them, or add a few lines of baling twine a few feet out around a tree. Leaning four palettes around a young spruce can be effective, too.

Remove attractants 
Think bird seed, corn for squirrels, and other supplemental food items. Food is the strongest attractant to wildlife, especially in winter months. Clean up spilled seed, or add a seed catcher under the bird feeder. Don’t feed deer and encourage neighbors not to as well.

Things that are bright, flashing and noisy can deter deer. Motion sensor lights or sound systems can also be effective, but combining multiple techniques will improve results. If your neighbor has a dog, ask them to play fetch with the pup in your yard. The presence of this "predator" can have a strong impact on other animals.

Landscaping and placement 
Simple things like benches, landscaping ornaments, or garden statues left out all year can be placed "in the way" along obvious openings or paths to close in the space.

Check that the store-bought repellent is still effective as the weather cools down. Any adverse weather will require reapplication. Home remedies, like chunks of soap, barbershop hair or dryer sheets aren’t as useful in urban areas where deer are used to the smell of people. Repellents are less successful when a buck is surging with testosterone or the deer are trudging through a couple of feet of snow looking for food.