Asked on Mar 23, 2014

The Deer have Eaten my Photinia! (How to stop them?)

Tara @ Suburble
by Tara @ Suburble
So, I've been tolerating the pair of deer who visit us, which is probably the wrong thing to do. The doe has an injured back leg, and while she gets around okay, I felt sorry for her.
That pity is now gone. She and her not-a-fawn-anymore have eaten all of the leaves on my Photinia bushes! I'm panicking, because a) I don't want them to die and b) we're moving in two weeks, and the new owners are going to see these skeletal bushes in our backyard.
What can I do to nurse them back to life? And how can I discourage these munching deer? We live on a ravine and so they're always cruising in the area behind our house.
I'm appalled. Deer, I thought you were my friends!?!?!?
  7 answers
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Mar 23, 2014
    Deer have to eat too, unfortunately. We wrap our shrubs in the fall that the deer like to eat. We use netting, green metal stakes and tie wraps. so that h deer can't get to the shrubs. Some people here in Michigan wrap their shrubs in burlap too. Then when things starts to green up and food is available again we unwrap the shrubs for the summer. Then they eat my blooming perennials. Sigh! I use soap on tall stakes to discourage them, but its not 100% effective. There is a spray available but it has to be re-sprayed after every rainfall.
    • Tara @ Suburble Tara @ Suburble on Mar 23, 2014
      @White Oak Studio Designs I know! I've been loving that the deer have been peeking their heads over the fence for the summer. But destroying my shrubs has really made me think twice about them. I didn't consider wrapping them, but maybe I will until the new owners show up. It rains a LOT here, so we would be spraying every two or three days.
  • Rebecca Duff Rebecca Duff on Mar 23, 2014
    It's a shame we love the deer, but they destroy our plants....Urine will help keep them away if they are still munching on anything left. It is NOT as bad to handle as most people believe. Collect as much as you can and pour it around your bushes away from the drip line, or where the roots are, as you don't want to water them w urine. I would suggest making a "tea" out of compost or worm castings, and watering the plants with those every 2 weeks to help them come back to life. I believe I would do something as White Oak suggested to keep them away now that they have found a yummy food source. I'm sure there are other things you can do and will get some more good answers..GOOD LUCK :)
    • Tara @ Suburble Tara @ Suburble on Mar 23, 2014
      @Rebecca Duff I will try the compost tea to encourage them to come back. And maybe I will try a wrap or the urine border. I feel so bad for my naked little shrubs!
  • Dianna59 Dianna59 on Mar 23, 2014
    i put out bars of irish spring soap. they don't like the smell and stay away from the plants. we get lots of deer here
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Mar 24, 2014
    That's my problem with the spraying too, spraying 2 1/2 acres of garden every few days is just not feasible. There use to be a product called Dee-Vic that worked (spring through fall) but its no longer on the market. Nothing but wrapping to protect them will work in the winter when the deer are starving.
    • Tara @ Suburble Tara @ Suburble on Mar 25, 2014
      @White Oak Studio Designs That's good to know. And I'm sure that our hurt doe didn't want to travel too far, so once we tolerated her hanging out in our back ravine, she just worked her way up into the yard. Sigh. Okay. I'm on "damage control" now. Thank you very much for the help!
  • Shelia E Shelia E on Mar 25, 2014
    I too put a bar of Irish Spring on my baby blue spruce tree this year. Last year the dear used the first one I planted as a way to clean their horns and destroyed the whole top. Although this year they have eaten everything they are not suppose to like due to the continued snow, they didn't touch the one with the soap. I'm sold. I'll have one frothy yard come summer now............IF it ever comes!
    • See 1 previous
    • Sue Kiene Sue Kiene on May 07, 2016
      @Tara @ Suburble I was told that the best thing to do is to make shavings and distribute them where you do not want the deer to go
  • Glenna Kennedy Glenna Kennedy on Feb 08, 2015
    Many years ago my sister had apple orchards and the deer were a problem whenever we planted new trees. They loved the tender young shoots. We would go to a local hairdresser and get bags of hair, (use gloves) then we would cut up nylons into small sacs and fill them with the hair. We'd tie the sacks around the perimeter of the orchard. Lots of work but it did deter them. They do have to be replaced after a rainfall. On a small scale garden you could tie dozens of them around whatever plants they are eating. It is strange, I live on a property close to a town and have bush all around us. We have deer, coyotes, nearly every animal native to us here. The deer are in my backyard all the time but they don't bother anything? We don't have a dog so that isn't a deterrent. The rabbits do more damage than the deer. I have dozens of varieties of plants and bushes, rose of Sharon, roses, mums, hostas, crabs apple tree, bee balm, butterfly bushes, several grasses etc. They don't touch any of them, not sure why.
  • Lulu Lulu on Mar 01, 2016
    A little bird told me the deer love you because you give them nice things to eat. Try wolf urine granules.