BUILDING A DEER FENCE
Bambii has worked its way into the hearts of the American people. It is a beautiful animal that we all love until it starts devouring our plant material. As gardeners or home owners we become angry and frustrated when all our hard work is destroyed. The population of Deer in suburbia has exploded. In rural America hunters have reduced the population and Deer stay away from houses in fear of getting shot. In suburbia they often give birth in ones back yard.
This is a true story that shows you how domesticated Deer have become. I was on my way to visit a property early one morning. The parents had gone off to work and the children had all gone to school. The Nanny was taking care of the family baby. It was a long winding road in the hills of Irvington and the Nanny was taking a walk with the baby in her carriage. Right behind her, following her down the middle of the road was a mother Deer walking her fawn. Wow I thought, how domesticated our Deer population has become! A Deer taking an early morning walk, following humans, was a strange sight to observe.
I have been working and designing properties in Deer Country for many years. I understand people’s frustrations and their love for animals. I feel the best solution to the problem is to put up a deer fence in the back yard and use Deer resistant plants in the front yard.
If you have a Deer Proof back yard you can grow anything you want including vegetables without the fear of Deer eating them. Fencing in your back yard with Deer fencing is fairly easy to do and fairly inexpensive. This is a project you can easily do yourself. Deer fencing comes in 100 foot roles. It is black and I often refer to it as the invisible fence. From a distance you don’t notice it and see right through it.
Rick, our handyman volunteer, put up a 50 yard fence for me in about a ½ hour. Deer were eating the sunflower display he planted for us. He used ½ inch, 10’ electrical conduit which he hammered into the ground with a post pounder. They are thin and strong and if you paint them black they too become almost invisible to the naked eye. Thin makes them also almost invisible.
If you want the poles to be stronger you can use ¾ in. although I found ½’ doing a good job. You will also need a 6 foot ladder. 10 foot spacing seems to work and black fasteners make the job easy. The back yard is usually fairly easy to fence in requiring very few gates. An easy exit route can be accomplished by overlapping the fence 3’- 5’ on each side with a narrow walk through the overlapped area. Deer will not walk through a narrow long or curving space. You enter on one side of the fence and exit on the other without using a gate. Gates can also be built.
The front yard is complex because of driveways, front walkways and house entrances. Here is where my book “12 Steps to Natural Gardening” becomes valuable. I have developed one of the best lists of Deer Resistant plants starting on page 295. Work from this 10 page list and plant up a beautiful front yard. Milorganite is a very good organic fertilizer that also repels Deer making your front yard very unappetizing to them. Your yard is for you to enjoy not for the Deer to enjoy.
Happy Organic Gardening