Deter Rabbits and Deer from the Garden

Want to know how to deter rabbits and deer? Chances are if you live on the outskirts of a city you have critters like rabbits and deer munching on your trees, shrubs and plants. I know we do…and plenty of them.


We also have a raccoon named ‘Jugs’ that visits, but Jug’s claim to fame is the great balance act he provides for us as he tries ever so hard to knock down the bird feeder hanging from within the tall evergreen tree. He is quite interesting and very funny to watch.
The huge black crows circle the tree and squawk persistently becoming louder as Jug dangles upside down, swatting at the feeder. I suppose the concern is their nest up high in the same tree.
And yes, Jug does manage each time in knocking down the feeder and cracking open the shells. A feast made in heaven!


Now, the critter rabbits are another issue…those pesky little things. Our ‘Bugs Bunny’ lives underneath the gazebo.
This year Bugs gets her own meal plan. I planted a tub of petunias just for her. I shall place the tub right beside her favorite the Golden Variegated Sweet Flag Grass, planted at the pond’s edge.
I have also discovered that rabbits love Barberry Shrubs . In fact, I have so many appealing annuals and perennials in my flowerbeds that Bugs can hardly keep up! A project of ours this summer or early next spring is to replace the gazebo with a 4 season room…so Bugs will have to vacate the premises. Don’t worry we’ll give him/her at least 30 days’ notice.

White-tailed Deer

Since we live on the outskirts of the city, and huge fields and a wooded area line illinois-deer-in-gardenthe back of our property, plenty of white-tail deer gallop into the yard and smack their lips (do deer have lips?) at the growing vegetation.
When really hungry, deer eat pretty much everything. Of course there are plenty of shrubs and plants on every gardeners list that say ‘deer proof’ but I have learned that when the ‘Bambi’s’ are really hungry…look out… nothings safe!
For instance, take the Barberry shrub. Prickly, sharp thorns…right? The deer ate them right down to stubs. Thank goodness they are growing back, wow…didn’t their mouths bleed?
So, in order for man and beast to cohabit, we decided to take action, in a friendly way.
Below are some of the Deer and Rabbit Resistant Plants that I have planted: (in no particular order)

Ajuga, Ageratum, Bee Balm, Shasta Daisy Becky , Hardy Plumbago, Dusty Miller, Coneflower, and Meringue Daylilies

Motion Activated Sprinkler

In order to help deter the rabbits and deer from using my gardens as their daily feast, we purchased a product called ScareCrow. The ScareCrow protects any open area of a garden or yard that receives those unwanted guests.

Its sprinkler directs water accurately up to 35 feet (10m), protecting 1000 sq. ft.(90 square meters) area. When an animal or person (watch out as I’ve been sprayed a few times) moves into the field of view, the Scarecrow notices a change and opens an electronic valve to release a 3 second burst of water through the sprinkler. The ScareCrow then pauses for 8 seconds before resuming sensing. This pause creates an element of randomness and unpredictability preventing animals from becoming used to the device. And guess what? It really works. It really does deter the rabbits and deer. We have two in our backyard gardens.
We placed the first one in the South Garden and buried the garden hose. We turn the sensor knob at the back of the head all the way to the right allowing the sensors to see the rabbits as well as the bigger deer. The second Scarecrow sits on top of a berm further back into the yard. This deters the rabbits and deer that come in from the field or woods.
Below is video of a product very similar to the ScareCrow.
Havahart Spray Away Motion Activated Deer Repellent, or try the smaller version for the ‘other critters’ who may roam your gardens.

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