Moles, Voles, Deer – Battle With The Varmints

I remember the first time  I  encountered a deer . . . . I though it was a Great Dane.

I know. . . . it sounds ridiculous . . . .

. . . .but it’s true.

I may be a little near-sighted. . . . but after living in the country for fifteen years  and never encountering a deer.  . . .

. . . .I didn’t  expect to see one in my path while I was jogging . . . . in the middle of the day.

When I realized what it actually was I thought Wow! That is so incredible  . . . . a deer!

Now we live in town . . . . and when I see a deer I think On no! I hope those eating machines bypass our yard and hit the neighbors’ instead! 

I know . . . .that’s not very nice . . . . to wish the deer on my neighbors . . . . but it’s a dog eat dog world . . . .

. . . . and I would like to keep a little of our landscaping intact. 

When we lived in the country we didn’t have any problems at all. Now . . . . in town . . . . we can’t control the varmints. 

Garden Repellents we've used for moles, voles, deer, slugs at allourway.com

Garden Repellents We’ve Used

We have moles . . . . we have voles . . . . we have rabbits . . . . we have slugs . . . . we have chipmunks . . . . we have squirrels . . . . and last but not least are the herds of deer. Yes . . . I said herds. 

Since we’ve lived here we’ve spent a fortune on prevention.

There are the pills that you bury close to the plant roots.

There is the powder you sprinkle around the plants for the slugs.

There is the greasy, slimy stuff you put in a watering can and sprinkle throughout the flower beds.

And there is the spray that you put in a sprayer to mist all of the plants. 

What is not pictured are two different kinds of traps . . . . I didn’t think it would look too good in a picture.

And after all this . . . . we still have all of the above mentioned varmints . . . . especially the deer. 

Hosta with Slug Damage at allourway.com

Hosta with Slug Damage

The powder may work for a little while but then the slugs are back . . . . hungry as ever. We’ve heard that beer in a dish will work . . . . I guess they get thirsty and drown in the beer. No thanks! I don’t want to be buying beer for the slugs and then have to empty the container. 

My Monet Before and after mole damage at allourway.com

My Monet – How It Should Look and With Mole Damage

The way My Monet is supposed to look is on the left and on the right is how My Monet looks now. We have tried trapping the sneaky mole and even sprinkling the sticky, greasy stuff in the garden beds . . . . 

. . . . but the determined mole (s) keeps burrowing under the small bush resulting in  damage to the bush’s roots.

Voles are just as bad . . . . only they eat the roots and the bark of plants and part of the problem is mulch. 

Mulch is a haven for moles and voles. 

But . . . .

. . . .worst of all are the deer. 

Deer Damage to Hosta Embroidery at allourway.com

Host Embroidery Eaten by Deer

I have babied this plant for over twenty five years. . . . I dug it up and brought it with me when we downsized. It is unusual because it has a curled edge around every leaf . . . .it is a beautiful plant if the deer would let it get some leaves. I’ve buried the pills around the roots and sprayed the leaves . . . . you can see how well it has worked. 

Hosta Red Dawn Eaten by Deer at allourway.com

Hosta Red Dawn Eaten by Deer

I’ve had this hosta for several years and this is the first time that the deer have done this much damage. . . .

. . . .which is evidence that there are more deer eating all plants that are available. 

Aborvitae Eaten by Deer at allourway.com

Arborvitae Eaten by Deer

This Aborvitae is part of a tree row bordering our back yard. It did make a nice privacy fence until the deer took it upon themselves to try to make the tree into a topiary. . . . from the looks of it  . . . .

. . . .the Arborvitae may not make it. 

Well things are not hopeless!

I believe that I may have a recipe for deer prevention . . . .

 . . . . it is too soon to tell if it is a 100% success . . . . but it is quick . . . . easy . . . . and cheap

I read about this solution in my Fine Gardening magazinthe August 2014 issue on page 12. You can still get the issue if you’re interested.  The recipe for the repellent came in as a reader’s tip. All it takes is eggs and water.  

I know . . . . it sounds too simple! I’ve made the solution twice and so far it seems to be working. 

The ratio is  12 eggs to 5 gallons ( 20 quarts)  of water.

You can make a smaller batch just as long as you keep the proportions the same . . . .

. . . . 3 eggs to 5 quarts of water

One thing I did learn that was not in the tip — strain the solution before you put it in a garden sprayer or spray bottle. If you don’t the sprayer could get clogged. Another plus to this deer repellent is that you don’t have to apply it after every rain . . . . but as cheap as it is . . . . if  we have a lot of rain I reapply. 

After all . . . . an ounce of prevention means I have plants with leaves :-) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Diane P. says

    Marissa: your deer have certainly done some damage! We had deer problems when we lived in Illinois, but the deer ate ALL the leaves. What was left was 10 or 12 little stubbs poking our of the ground—-they actually looked similar to the hosta as it emerges through the ground in the spring. Thank heavens we don’t have to fight the deer here in NW Indiana. We do have chipmunk and squirrel problems here—the chipmunks being the worst of the two. I don’t like killing animals, so I bought what’s called a “tender heart” trap. You bait the trap with food, and when the chipmunk goes inside, a door closes. Then we pick up the trap and take it for a ride a mile away where we let the little varmit loose. We thought we only had 4 or 5 chipmunks. The first year we used it, we caught 42!!!! The second year, we caught 20. This is the third year we’ve used it, and so far we’ve caught only 9 chipmunks, 2 squirrels, and 1 rabbit. Those little chipmunks ate our strawberries, took chunks out of our tomatoes, and took several chunks out of our eggplant!! The nerve of them! Best of luck with your battle—I sympathize—I know exactly what you’re going through!!!

  2. says

    This is exactly what we were talking about today! If I want to put out a garden….I need to enclose it in chicken wire to keep everyone out. :)

    Happy day to you!
    karianne

    • says

      So far so good — the deer seem to be keeping away from the roses and the poor hosta. I’ll keep everyone posted — this is a major issue here. If I find a solution for the moles I’ll post that too.

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