Scram, Deer! How To Keep Deer From Eating Your Plants

by Rebecca Austin

Do you have trouble with rabbits and deer eating your plants? 

Especially here in Monmouth County, where we have one of the largest herds of wild deer on record, issues with wildlife pests destroying hours of gardening are all too common. As a gardener, you are faced with the decision on how to handle these pesky critters treating your plants like a salad bar. You could build a small fence, or some PVC plastic fencing around landscape features or veggie gardens, but these could be major eyesores. Sometimes, deer will trample over, or rabbits will burrow under these fences, rendering them useless 

Possible Methods

You could use a spray directly on your plants. While this method is extremely effective, many repellents or preventatives contain harmful chemicals that degrade plant and wildlife, infiltrate groundwater stores, and can be toxic to pets or children. Furthermore, some of these chemicals are not safe to spray on any veggies or fruits you may have planted to eventually eat!  

In most cases, the best route to take is to dissuade the animals from going near your plants to begin with. Should an initial boundary be set so that rabbits or deer don’t even get a taste of your plants, they will not see your yard as a food source, and typically will avoid coming back. You can do this by using a few different methods. 

You could try only planting plants that are deer or rabbit resistant. Things like Vinca, Columbine, Astilbe, and Dahlia all boast a natural deer resistance. They usually don’t snack on plants that have strong scents or boast foliage that is fuzzy. While there is a huge selection of deer or rabbit-resistant plants, if an animal is hungry (or persistent) enough, the plant will get munched on. 

You could use some at-home quick fixes. Tricks like using ground cayenne pepper to sprinkle on and around your plans have helped home gardeners for generations. People have even used clippings of human hair to sprinkle throughout their gardens to dissuade pests. These methods are tried-and-true, but can wash away quickly. 

Barlow's Go-To Method

Our favorite method, and what we use here at Barlow’s are all-natural granular Scram repellents. Scram blends contain only natural ingredients (blood meal, garlic, cloves, pepper, predator urine, human hair) to emulate non-enticing smells that animals will avoid. While this sounds grotesque, the smell is not potent to the human nose! It is safe and there is no waiting period for the use of your lawn once applied. Simply use the scoop provided to sprinkle whichever Scram blend you are using in a line around the perimeter of the plants you’d like to protect. The granular formulae typically last 30-40 days before you need to re-apply. There is no need to re-apply after rainfall, and the average dog or cat isn’t too interested in eating or rolling in it.  

If you're interested in Deer Scram, you can find it through our website by clicking here!

Whichever method you choose to use to keep critters out, make sure that you keep your plants safe! 


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