Going out to one’s garden in the morning to see that the deer have been at everything, from the flowers to the leaves on a sapling that can’t afford to lose one more leaf to the leafy green vegetables may make even the most pacifist gardener want to pick up a shotgun and have a go at the tender-eyed creatures. The good news is that this may not be necessary. There are several types of fences that can dissuade deer while being an anesthetically pleasing part of the property.
Before a fence is built, it’s important to know something about deer. A deer can jump a fence that is 7 feet tall. Building a fence that’s taller than this is a challenge, both to the sense of aesthetics and to the pocketbook. Moreover, the bottom few inches of the fence may need to be buried in the ground, as deer have been known to squeeze under fences as well as leap over them. However, if it’s the only way to keep deer from munching on the plants, flowers and trees a gardener took so long to cultivate, it may be worth it.
Another thing about deer is that they return to a place where they’ve browsed before without bad consequences. So a fence or other deterrent should be erected as soon as the plant or sapling goes into the ground or germinates. When the deer sees a new, potentially appetizing plant that’s blocked off, they will choose easier pickings. Though deer have a nearly 360-degree field of vision since their eyes are on the sides of their heads, their depth perception is poor, and they see in black and white. This is helpful when it comes to three-dimensional electric fences.
One thing a homeowner can do if they opt for a high fence is to make the gate as attractive as possible. The center can feature a laser cut image, such as that of a plant and some homeowners add chimes or tubes that hang from the top of the frame and make noise when the wind blows. This is supposed to spook the deer.
Gardeners who are not so concerned with aesthetics may opt for metal posts driven into the ground and hung with mesh secured with zip ties. The mesh needs to be fine so the deer can’t chew through it. Indeed, some types of mesh are so fine that they can only be seen close up and don’t obstruct the view of the garden.
Electrical fencing is an option, though it does cause the deer a bit of pain. The fence doesn’t need to be very tall, and the ones with posts planted five feet apart and strung with a pair of electrified wires wrapped in black and white mylar are very effective.
Though a deer that’s starving will find a way to a food source, even if it’s also the gardener’s food source, these fences should at least make them consider going elsewhere.