How to Keep Deer, Rabbits, and Groundhogs Away from Your Plants

These animals can be a gardener's worst nightmare!

We've received this question more than any other. From groundhogs munching on coneflower leaves, to deer chowing down on your veggies, and rabbits nibbling on the Rudbeckia pictured on the left these animals can be a gardener's worst nightmare!


There are a million things to try including hair clippings, epsom salt, and coyote urine but really, who wants to try that?   We’ve found the only things that really help are applying liquid fence or green screen and/or installing a literal fence.


Liquid Fence or Green Screen

Both Liquid Fence and Green Screen are readily available at most hardware stores. These products are applied topically to plants and the perimeter of your garden and deter these critters by scent. You will need to reapply throughout the growing season and after heavy rains. Be warned, these products smell horrible to us as well as animals but they do work (the smell dissipates pretty quickly but can be unpleasant on the day applied). In our experience Green Screen works better than Liquid Fence, and the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge swears by it as well. These products are far from foolproof, and it often depends on how determined/hungry your particular visitors are, but we've definitely seen a great reduction in damage when using them.


Fencing

Especially if you are trying to protect a vegetable garden, the only solution may be to put up a fence... but not just any fence will do. You want fencing with small holes - what many stores sell as rabbit fencing is often not sufficient because the holes are too big. We recommend using chicken wire as your main fencing or wrapping it around a pre-existing fence. Ideally the fence should be buried 12” deep to keep the critters out.


You can also consider an electric fence - while the set up is more involved and initially more expensive some of our staff have had great luck with them. We found a great website that walks you through setting up an electric fence.