Friday, August 01, 2008

Deer wars...if you're a gardener of any kind, you know what I'm referring to. The enemy is lurking, whether you're in the yard or in the woods, you can feel it....something is out there.......they're sneaky, too. Using any resource available, they disguise themselves to avoid detection. For example, here in the fog is the perpetrator, lurking in the distance.......even on a clear day, out in the open, they have cloaking abilities that defy reason.......ACK! What's going on?!Hey! See what I mean? They posess some mystical cloaking system to sneak up on us! Even the headlights on our cars are no match.......nor is the deep snowfall! They will come from far and wide to devour and destroy the fruits of a gardener's labor. Nothing can stop them it seems.......they even train their young in cloaking techniques and disguises!How can we win against these stealthy beasts? Physical barriers such as these cages around young trees can help.......they don't stop all potential damage, but can at least prevent all-out decimation!Smaller plants require even more protection, since rabbits and groundhogs are known to be agents of destruction as well.......another technique: repellent sprays. This product has been the best performer for me thus far, but it smells positively disgusting! Fortunately, the smell dissipates almost entirely overnight and it lasts up to 30 days. (I spray about every 2 weeks in spring when pressure is high.) And although it brings me pleasure to beat these interlopers at their own game, I like to try new products from time to time.......so right now I'm trialing this stuff, which is supposed to smell good and last longer, about 60 days. It does smell good, like really strong cinnamon. So I tried it on the row of hostas along my driveway, as these are "extras" and can afford to be sacrificed if necessary. So far, so good......."So how's that grab ya', you hungry alien creep?!" Hahahahahaha!Then suddenly, without warning, a new enemy emerges........Dusty! This is my neighbor's pony, Dusty, and he manages to "escape" several times each summer. He's particularly fond of the plants in my yard, although he roams most everywhere, sampling as he goes. Fortunately, he does not posess the powers of stealth like the deer......so he's much easier to keep out. This flimsy little plastic "gate" is only attached by twist-ties at one end, and bungee cords at the other. It's enough of a visual and physical barrier to convince him to move along. (I had to make it high enough though, I've seen him clear a rope gate 3 1/2 feet off the ground!)
As you can see, I'm no engineer, and my "design" is a real pain to open and close. (Heh, what was that about "measure twice, cut once"? :) Oh well, I can revise it... ...thus concludes this ongoing saga....for now. Beware the shape-shifting, cloaked and stealthy foliage thieves...they're coming for your plants too! Submitted to Friday Ark.



17 comments:

Steve said...

Our local deer have not been eating our flowers since we began placing baggies full of, well, doggie poo adjacent to or in the flower pots/beds.

troutbirder said...

yes... well.. your exactly right. Perhaps our homeland security department could intervene... but still they are so beautiful or cute or both. What a conundrum!

lisa said...

Steve-Really? I'll have to try that with kitty poo...they may not be as scary to deer as dogs, but certainly more smelly! :)

Troutbirder-Heh, I bet homeland security rates this situation a fairly low priority. They ARE cute, at least when they're babies. I think they know how I feel about them though, I stopped to get a picture of a couple does the other day, and one stuck her tongue out at me!

Tam said...

Ha! I love the gate. I have something similar to the cranky old man behind us.

He was complaining about leaves getting in his yard in the fall so I put up something similar.

lisa said...

Heh, necessity is definately the mother of invention! Someday I want a "real" gate, but this sure works for now. :)

antvee said...

You measure like I do. :)
So far, I've never had to deal with deer. But I hear our city-slicker neighbors have installed a deer feeder back in their woods, which is directly behind me. Idiots.
After looking at your stealthy little deer, I'm starting to get that tingly feeling at the back of my neck...they're out there...I can just feel it.... :(

lisa said...

Oh yea, that deer feeder is gonna be trouble! Beware, they ARE out there! :)

debbi/kurtsmom said...

Oh no. I have heard about hanging irish spring soap in pantyhose from trees. Would look pretty silly

lisa said...

I heard about that too, but I think deer will adapt to most anything when they're hungry. I always wondered if the soap getting rained on might harm nearby plants, too. Definately worth some research though, cuz' it would be good to have some more weapons to help keep costs and labor down for my spraying program, especially out by the road where I put "extra" plants.

Annie in Austin said...

Thank heavens your good humor isn't totally squashed by the deer invasion, Lisa - we lived with them for 5 years so I can relate!
In a dry year they won't care what things smell like - they'll even eat plants that are poisonous to them.

When the pony comes to visit at least he leaves something good for the compost heap... pony manure was cherished by gardeners back in IL!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

lisa said...

Oh yes, they aren't short on determination! I'm sure you don't miss them one bit...wish I could handle Texas temps, cuz' I wouldn't miss these guys, either. After spraying more often this spring, and the decent rainfall we've had, they don't seem to even enter my yard as much as usual. Yay! My jubilation isn't permanent though, vigilance is necessary to avoid re-invasion. ;-) Dusty did leave me some valuable "gifts", and luckily he only browsed a couple plants that recovered from the insult pretty well.

Bob said...

Sorry all the problems with the deer. They are beautiful to see but not in a garden. The best product I've heard out there is Plantskydd. I have seen it in some of the Nurseries I sell too and they say it's wonderful.

glad to be back and enjoy your blog.
take care, Bob

lisa said...

Thank you Bob, I'll check into that product! I'm glad you're back as well! :)

Frances, said...

Hi Lisa, your deer are so smart with that invisability shield. Clever devils! While we do not have to deal with those critters, we have friends who cannot grow so many things, including my beloved daylilies, or deer candy as they call them. That is too sad. Your bungee cord fence is brilliant, it even has some *give* to it. I have heard of people having success with strings of fishing line making a fence like structure across several shrubs, apparently they won't cross something that touches them, even if they cannot see it, and it looks better in the garden too. Dusty is pretty cute, even if he is a plant muncher.

lisa said...

I tried the fishing line strung around bushes to scare the deer, it seemed to help at first, just not enough. Dusty really IS cute as heck, although if he were MY pony he'd be a lot healthier and his feet would be trimmed properly! Grrr!

chuck b. said...

There so cute in the snow! Awww.

I didn't know you had a pony to contend with too.

lisa said...

Yea, Dusty is a part-time pest...I really think he's cute as hell, though. He likes to play too, I'll chase him with the car, beeping, and he shakes his head, kicks up his heels, and takes off running. It's a stitch!