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I know this is a sensitive and frustrating topic for many of you.
Last year, more than ever that I can remember, many new plantings of shrubs and trees took place. With the pandemic, many of you spent time and money on the landscape. You helped these new plantings make it through the summer—you watered, you fertilized, and nurtured them to get ready for winter—you are proud of your accomplishment. And you should be proud.
But now, all these shrubs and trees face another threat—deer. Here in Central Virginia, we normally don’t experience a harsh freezing winter that causes damage to our beloved shrubs and trees. So cold temperatures and the cold elements are not as big a concern as deer damage.
Winter is officially here. Many of our shrubs and trees have now dropped their leaves and have gone dormant for the winter. This reduces the food sources for deer, and they will prey on our landscape evergreens more than ever. And, they will become more aggressive with looking for food and will venture right up to the house if needed.
One of the most effective deterrents to deer is having a dog roam your lawn and gardens, but not everyone has this option. So, what other options do you have?
Deer repellent is a good first line of defense. There are many effective repellents on the market, and we carry two of the best with MESSINA DEER STOPPER and BOBBEX. With these products, you spray onto the shrubs and trees. Both are eco-friendly and can be used year-round. By spraying the plants, it leaves a bad taste in their mouths. Once sprayed, these products will protect the plants for up to 30 days. Many customers have reported back to us on their success using these products. I recommend that you consider alternating between the two products so the deer do not get used to the scent and taste.
Another product to consider as a deer deterrent is MILORGANITE. Milorganite is a dry product that you spread on the ground around and under the plants you want to be protected from deer damage. Milorganite leaves a smell that deer do not like. Not only have our customers found Milorganite to be a successful repellent, but Milorganite adds organic nutrients to the soil, therefore a win/win.
Did you know that an adult deer will eat about 6 pounds of plant material daily? In the winter, they become bolder in their search for food by coming into your yard and close to the house.
When I talk to customers about deer, I will recommend that they do both the liquid spray repellent along with a dry product. Bottom line, you want to do whatever you can to make deer unhappy being in your yard and landscape.