Sunday, December 27, 2009
Deer Damage Prevention
On Lotus island the deer have free "reign". They are medium sized mule deer and no more skittish than cows in a pasture. There are virtually no predators other than cars, except a few hunters in the fall, but even here, there are no trophy bucks. The odd hunter claims to be after meat. Whatever! One of the reasons the deer are bolder is that dogs do not run free on Lotus island. There are many sheep farmers and they shoot any dog that harrasses their sheep. Often any pretext will do! Dog lovers contain their animals. The garden damage the deer do is confined to a few species, so most of us have avoided planting the vulnerable. In my garden I have not followed my own advice. At risk are Japanese Laurel ( Aucuba japonica), Camellia, Cedar (Smaragd), Azalea,and small leaf Rhododendron. Also, most spring bulbs other than Daffodils, Bergenia and some Sedum. They occasionally chew Dahlia. Since they browse and are alert, they seldom stay more than a few minutes in any one place. Their pattern of trailwalking is absolutely consistant and predictable in time and space. I use that evil smelling deer repellant, Plantskydd, which is expensive but I dilute it plenty in a sprayer since I am parsimonious. If you spray on sunnier days it lasts one or two months. Once they've tasted a leaf with it on, they change their pattern of browse. If you leave the Plantskyddd container open it becomes even more foul and effective. Care must be taken because it stains the house siding. The stink around the house lasts for a day so don't do it before a party. The presence of the deer on your lot, within proximity, is a delight you can only enjoy if you don't fence them out. Plan to buy your vegetables from an organic marketer! I always think a home vegetable gardener spends a hundred dollars of effort and seed to grow ten dollars worth of produce.