Perry's Perennial Pages, Perennial Arcade Quiz

Oh Deer!

Deer have become a major problem in gardens in many areas of the country.  Which of the following control methods are true or false?  See answers below.

1. Deer feeding is a function of alternative food sources.  If they have other options than your garden, they may leave it along.  true   false

2. Planting resistant plants will prevent deer feeding.  true  false

3. If there are about five to ten deer per square mile, with damage through the summer including loitering and feeding during daytime, repellents should work.  true  false

4. Deer controls are best if implemented at once when you start getting deer feeding on your plants.  true  false

5. Effective deterrents  or resistant plants in one garden may not be effective in another.  true   false

6. Deer are rather dumb, so once scared away from a repellent they generally don't return.  true  false

7. Daffodils, fritillarys, snowdrops, and squill are examples of some deer resistant bulbs.  true   false

8. Scarecrows can be used effectively to scare away deer.  true  false

9. Fishing line (monofilament plastic) can be used to deter deer.  true  false

10. Any fence that provides a physical barrier will generally keep out deer.  true  false


1. true.  The problem comes about when there are no other sources, your plants are more tasty to them, or there is not enough food to go around for all the deer in your area.


2. false. If they are hungry enough, they will eat most any plant.  Yet if they aren't that hungry, or not too many deer around, this is a good strategy.


3.  false.  Repellents are a good place to start, but with this many you may need to resort to dogs and fencing.  Repellents work best when fewer than five deer per square mile.


4. false.  The sooner the better, but best is before they begin feeding, before planting, before the start of the season.  Stop the habit before it begins! Start using deterrents before deer visit your landscape or find your choice plants, and hopefully they'll pass it by.


5. true.  Deer are adaptable, and have different tastes just as we do.  Also some areas with more severe pressure may get more feeding, in spite of deterrents and plant type.


6. false.  Actually, they are rather smart, and learn quickly.  Hence you need to rotate among deterrents, changing them every few days, or moving items such as motion lights, for maximum control.


7. true.  Tulips are one of their favorite foods!


8. false.  Crows maybe, deer no unless it moves randomly.  Deer don't have the greatest site, so don't see unmoving objects until rather close.  Then if it doesn't move or seem to pose a threat, they don't get scared.  Even if moves some with the breeze, and you move it every few days, deer get used to this.  What you need is a scarecrow that suddenly moves violently.


9. true.  Maybe not always, but often.  Deer can hear well, but not see well.  They bump into the line, don't know what it is, and so retreat (at least that's the theory), at least for many gardeners.


10. false.  An effective deer fence should be at least eight feet high.  Many variations exist, such as electric fences, and slanted wire fences.


For more on all these controls and others, see Deerproofing Your Yard and Garden, by Rhonda Massingham White, Storey Publishing.

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