Thursday, June 26, 2008

Deer Damage - Part One

This is a view from near the top of the hill, looking out over the daylily fields.
This is the view from the same spot last summer at the same time after the deer had come through. The drought was hard enough on plants last summer, but once the deer came through there were no more buds left to bloom. Quite depressing. Even the usual deer deterrents didn't work.
What we use:
Liquid Fence - We've been using this product since the company first started in business and most years it works quite well. Starving deer will eat even the most gross things, so last summer nothing worked. They even ate holly leaves and I can't imagine anything much worse to chew on.
Repellex - Tablets you put in the ground which are then systemic and make things taste truly awful. The main ingredient is Bitrex which is sometimes listed as the most bitter substance know. We bought some straight Bitrex once to mix in with other repellents, and the powder was so bad that if Hank opened the jar 20 feet away to mix it, I could almost instantly taste the stuff. I think I'll stick to the tablets, though I still wear gloves to keep them off my hands. These work especially well for bulbs that might be tempting to underground pests.
The third thing we use, the name of which totally escapes me right now, it a powder which is blood based, like we used to use blood meal to repel rabbits, and is more difficult to use. It probably works as well as or better than the others, but because of the mixing and straining, I just don't use it as often.
All are expensive, but when you think about the value of the plants the deer might gobble up, the cost is pretty minimum, even with our large garden. All need to be reapplied every few months, but things like daylilies only get sprayed when in bud.
I had hoped to put up pictures of my new fencing system, but the state argiculture inspector chose yesterday to visit, so pictures didn't get taken. Barring interruptions today, I should be able to show you what I've been up to in tomorrow's post.

No comments: