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Deer #300847 - Ask Extension

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Deer #300847

Asked February 12, 2016, 6:49 PM EST

Hello - I want to plant raspberries and blueberries in my yard, but we deer. Will deer eat either of these plants? If yes, what is the best way to protect them. Our yard is fenced, but doesn't keep them out. Beside fencing, are there other solutions? Thanks.

Benton County Oregon

Expert Response

To answer your first question – deer will eat both raspberries and blueberries.  You state your yard is fenced and the deer still get in, if your fence is less than 7’ high they will.  In fact, if they really want in they will clear a 7’ fence.  Depending on the material the fence is made of deer can break through, especially once they have tasted your goodies.  All of these facts we have experienced on our place with raspberries, strawberries, apple, pear, plum trees, and most of our veggies and we do have a 7’ high fence.  The best solution we have found is a big Yellow Labrador.  We never had deer or turkeys on the fenced area of our property until we no longer had the dog.  About a year after he was gone and the new dog was a little pup both deer and turkeys came in.  During that time, we bought white “Horse Tape” at a local farm supply store and strung it along the top of the fence.  That helped a bit until the pup found the joy of chasing the deer and turkey off of his property and they found there was a dog back on this property.  The other thing we have used are motion detectors that spray water at whatever sets it off (deer, your pets, your kids, or you).  Using these works for a while until the deer get use to them, then they avoid them.  You must move them every few days to make them effective.  The other thing you can try is the use of aromatic plants that will repel or draw deer away from your blueberries and raspberries.  These plants can be planted in the area near the plants to be protected.  Here is an OSU Extension paper on aromatic plants and how to use them.  http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/herbs-rescue-fend-deer-aromatic-plants.  If you were talking about protecting plants other than a food source there are some chemicals that are on the market that act as deer repellant, but these products are not approved for use on plants that will be consumed by humans.

Donald Lauer Replied February 13, 2016, 1:23 AM EST

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