It seems everywhere I look these days, someone is writing about the impact deer are having on homeowners’ gardens and also on the balance between native and non-native plants in local ecosystems. If you’re one of the lucky ones who does not have to deal with deer munching on your plants, consider yourself blessed. And probably living on borrowed time.
I’ve written before about the prevalence of deer here in southwestern Connecticut and the effectiveness of various deer repellents. No matter what your repellent of choice is, the deer will eventually become used to it and it will become less and less effective. Like many gardeners who deal with deer, my arsenal of deer repellents is continually changing. When it comes to deer repellents, it can be very frustrating because what works in your friend’s garden may not work in yours.
In fact, the University of Connecticut is now evaluating the effectiveness of homemade deer repellents. You can read more, and even find out how to submit your own brew, here at joene’s garden. It will be interesting to see if any of the homemade concoctions work as good as, or even better, than the commercial ones.
The problem with deer comes down to one simple fact…there are just too many of them in most urban and suburban neighborhoods. Sue Sweeney, a fellow team member at Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens blog (and a fellow resident of southwestern CT) wrote an intriguing post about whether or not hunting could be The Cure for White-Tailed Deer.
Even though I battle deer for control of my garden on a daily basis, I’m not sure I’m ready to concede that hunting in residential neighborhoods is the answer. But birth control may be. Apparently there is a new birth control vaccine for deer, GonaCon, which was mentioned in this Popular Science article. The vaccine, recently approved by the EPA, renders female deer infertile for up to five years. Before you start rejoicing, read the article because there are some major limitations. But, hey, it’s a start.
If hunting and vaccines are not on your to-do list this fall, you might want to check out this compilation of reader suggestions on keeping deer out of your garden that I found on Garden Web. While I’m not endorsing any of them, some are quite amusing…and disturbing!