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Keeping deer away from your garden

DWR provides tips to keep deer from eating your plants.

If you recently moved near a foothill in Utah, don't be surprised if some of the plants in your garden disappear this spring.

Deer near the road
Areas near roads are some of the first places to "green up" in the spring.

Photo by Dean Mitchell

Gardens, yards and areas right next to roads are "deer magnets" in the spring.

"Green grasses and other succulent vegetation typically start to appear at lower elevations and along roadways this time of year," says Scott Root, a regional conservation outreach manager with the Division of Wildlife Resources.

"These areas draw deer like a magnet."

Gardens and yards

Root says deer quickly learn that residential areas provide a delightful salad of tulips, lilies and other types of flowers, plants and trees. Fortunately, you can do several things to prevent deer from damaging your flowers and plants:

  • Building a permanent fence around your garden or yard is the best way to prevent deer from getting to your plants.
  • If building a permanent fence doesn't seem visually appealing or practical, consider placing a temporary fence around your garden or yard. Placing wire cages around the plants you want to protect can also help.
  • The best solution of all is to plant plants that don't attract deer.

Root says the Internet provides numerous resources to teach you how to fence your plants and flowers correctly. Other sources on the Web teach you how to plant plants that deer don't like to eat. Two of those publications—"Minimizing Browsing Damage by Deer" and "Creating Landscapes for Wildlife A Guide for Backyards in Utah"—are available for free at the DWR's website.

You can download the free publications at go.usa.gov/4R8 and go.usa.gov/4Rk.

Highways

The side of Utah's highways is another area that often draws deer in the spring. Deer are drawn to these areas because they're some of the first areas where green vegetation appears in the spring.

Deer and other big game animals aren't afraid to approach the edge of the road for a quick meal, especially at night.

"Even though many of our highways have big game fencing and at times, wildlife underpasses and other crossing structures," Root says, "we all need to be aware of our surroundings when we drive.

"This is simply a good time to remember that deer and other wildlife are often near roads in the spring," he says. "You need to use extra caution while you're driving, especially at night."

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