Deer are attractive to look at, but they’re the bane of many a gardener’s existence: they like to nibble on the tender shoots or flowers of a great many plants, and they can decimate a garden overnight. They’ve learned that gardens on the edges of populated areas provide a reliable food supply.
Though deer aren’t picky eaters, strong-smelling and unpleasant-tasting plants are the last to go. The animals’ tastes seem to vary from area to area, so check with your Cooperative Extension Office for a list of plants least likely to appeal to the local deer population.
Fencing is the most certain protection. Fences should be 7 to 8 feet high on level ground, up to 10 feet high if the garden is on a slope. Chicken-wire cylinders will protect individual young plants. Motion sensors that activate water-spraying hoses when deer arrive at night are sometimes effective.