Shepherding Deer Away

We hear from so many gardeners that the abundance of deer has been a significant limiting factor in their gardening, by restricting their plant palette. For those who want to continue gardening, there are four options: 1) Grow only deer-resistant plants, 2) Exclude the deer, 3) Hunt the deer, and 4) Use deer deterrent products.

We have produced a list of plants that are deer resistant in most situations, but like people, all deer aren’t going to consume the same foods when given a buffet option. Some, like us, opted for exclusionary deer fencing, which works quite well, but there are certainly limitations such as cost, HOA’s, etc. that make these impractical in some situations. The hunting option works for those who are so inclined, but only if you live in neighborhoods where hunting is permitted.

Most people use deer deterrent sprays, and while many work, they require frequent re-applications. This is why we paid particular attention a year ago, when we were told by our Extension agent about a product, Trico PRO, that was showing amazing effectiveness in both commercial farming and tree growing operations. The most intriguing report is that it only needs to be applied twice a year. In addition to eliminating browse, it also can be used as a deterrent to stop deer from entering a property by applying the product along the typical deer travel routes.

Since we opted for seclusion, we don’t have a great test area for the product, but we wanted to share the reports in case you want to investigate on your own. Unlike many of the smelly options, Trico PRO’s active ingredient is sheep fat, so there isn’t the odor of many homemade products. Because it’s an all natural product, it’s also labeled for use in vegetable gardens and orchards. At present, this is only packaged in large commercial size containers, so the amount of product you must purchase and the price may not be economical for those with small yards, unless you’re willing to work with your neighbors on a collaborative effort. For gardeners who want to continue to garden with a wide diversity of plants, perhaps this may be a viable option. We encourage you to talk with your local Extension Office to find out more about the results they are seeing in your region. You can also find out more from the distributor here.

3 thoughts on “Shepherding Deer Away”

  1. Ooh. Thank you so much for the information. Last year my yard got ravaged and I thought I can’t go on gardening if this is going to keep happening. This year I hold my breath every time I check on my plants, afraid that some of them will have been chomped on. I’ve been thinking about fencing… but will definitely look into this first. And maybe my neighbor will join with me in this endeavor! Thanks again, so much.


  2. My friend’s husband found this product last year. He was able to obtain a 2.5 gallon container, the smallest size available, earlier this spring. We divided the product, split the cost, mixed it up and each sprayed our perennial gardens in mid-March.

    It was easy to mix, did not clog the sprayer, and had no smell. I also sprayed a neighbor’s garden. She lives beside a well used deer path. To date, none of us have had any damage. I have sprayed emerging growth since the original spray. We are all hoping these initial results continue. The product also repels rabbits which is another plus.

    Hoping for the best as most products I have used previously did help some if I sprayed weekly. Most products do not deter both deer and rabbits, so instead of having to use two products now I can use just one. That’s a big plus for me.

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