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Those darn deer

Jim Boxberger
Posted 5/26/23

Wow, Memorial Day Weekend is here already, where did May go? So now everyone can mow their lawns knowing they did their part to help honeybees in the northeast. But now the serious work begins, …

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Garden Guru

Those darn deer


Wow, Memorial Day Weekend is here already, where did May go? So now everyone can mow their lawns knowing they did their part to help honeybees in the northeast. But now the serious work begins, planting the garden, the flowerbeds, the window boxes and patio pots. 

Graduation parties are quickly upon us and backyard bar-b-que season is already here. Time to dust off the patio furniture for another season. One thing about moving this spring, we found that a lot of the patio furnture we had just wasn’t worth moving. So for now we are just breaking out the camp chairs to sit around the fire pit at night. We have some apple trees now and the crazy weather this spring doesn’t seam to have bothered them one bit as I can see that they do have some fruit on them. I was worried that the unexpected frosts that we had might have frozen the blossoms off before they had a chance to be pollinated, but all looks good. 

Finally setting my kennel panels up around what will be the garden so that the deer won’t eat everything. These deer are driving me nuts as they are eating things that I have never heard of them eating before. The other morning when we were leaving for work, we noticed that overnight the deer had come and eaten half a pot of Jacob Kline Beebalm, a plant that I sell with great confidence that is deer resistent. I guess resistent is the key, as after the deer ate half the pot, he or she must have decided that it really wasn’t that good as the other half of the pot has not been touched in three nights now. 

Oddly enough, there are azaleas planted in front of our house less than six feet from where the beebalm was and the deer didn’t bother them at all. In Swan Lake, if I didn’t have our azaleas fenced in all year they would be gone in a night. It’s crazy what some animals will eat in certain areas. 

We sell lots of boxwood and even though many of our customers swear the deer never bother theirs, I always tell people you may have to spray these to keep the deer away. Even plants that you have that the deer never ate before may start to get eaten later in the season. The reason for this is that around August the does start to push their fawns away to start finding their own feeding grounds. When they are with mom they eat the plants that she eats, but once they start to venture off, they have to find out for themselves what they like and what they don’t like. 

And just like people, everyone’s tastes are not the same. Nine out of ten deer might not like your boxwood, but all you need is that one out of ten to move into the neighborhood and wipe out your boxwood in a few nights. I usually recommend to my customers that starting in late July they should spray sensitive plants so that new fawns don’t get a taste for your precious vegetation. We carry plenty of products for deer control, like sprays, powders and even coyote urine. Coyote urine isn’t something that you would spray on your plants, as that would make your next salad taste a little funny. Coyote urine is used to keep deer away from an area by using the deer’s own fear of coyote’s against them. 

Take an old pill bottle or other small container with a cap and drill four small, approximately a quarter inch, holes in the side about an inch and half up from the base. Then put two or three cotton balls into the bottle and add about a half inch of coyote urine. Get an eight to ten inch piece of string or jute twine and place a small amount in the bottle just before putting the cap back on with the other end hanging out. Now you can use the string to hang your bottle around your bushes, trees or garden fence to keep the deer away. The urine will evaporate slowly out through the holes in the bottle and the deer will be able to pick up that scent from hundreds of yards away. Refill your bottle once a month to make sure the urine scent doesn’t run out and don’t worry about your backyard smelling like a sewer, our noses are nowhere near as sensitive as a deer’s. For best results, place your bottles about three or four feet off the ground in an area with good airflow and don’t put them within three feet of your back patio or bedroom window. If you place them that close and get a breeze from the right direction, well what do you think? 

If I don’t get a chance to see you in the store this weekend, have a safe and fun holiday weekend and enjoy the great outdoors.


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