Gardening: Deer and your gardens don't mix
Aside from the weather, which I cannot change, deer damage is today’s top complaint from gardeners. At one time, these so-called wild animals would scatter at the slightest movement of a human, but today they look up and smile. In the OPC garden in Rochester, they attack plants in the dark of night.
There are many products on the retail market that are effective repellents for deer but the problem is most are washed away in the rain and must be constantly reapplied and that’s been a real problem this spring.
The animal repellent I regularly use to keep deer out of OPC garden is the blood-based product called Plantskydd that if allowed to dry for 24 hours after application will last for several weeks. However, new growth is always vulnerable, especially on flowering plants, so spraying budding plants can avoid disaster.
Plantskydd comes in a granular and liquid form that also deters rabbits, voles, chipmunks and squirrels. When sprinkled on the ground the granular Plantskydd is effective for use on plants up to 3 feet in height and is scentless. Taller shrubs and plants need to be sprayed with the liquid product. However, in areas where spraying is not possible or desirable, Julia Hofley, Michigan’s Plantskydd rep, came up with another method of use that works well in her collector’s garden.
Julia fills knee high pantyhose with ¼ cup of the granular product and ties these little repellent filled bags to hanging baskets, bird feeders and tomato cages. It keeps squirrels out of her bird feeders and marauders from feasting in the veggie garden. Plantskydd is OMRI listed and safe to use around edibles. I use the little organza candy bags available at the dollar store at six for a buck. These little bags can also be stuck in stone fencing and other nooks and crannies where chipmunks like to hide. On tall shrubs hang repellent bags at 3 feet in height. I found the granular Plantskydd used in this manner lasts all summer.
Hofley recommends spraying vulnerable plants as they emerge and again when they begin to form buds. Deer love those tender little morsels. Spray the undersides of fancy foliage plants to avoid discoloration.
The liquid form comes in a ready-to-use spray bottle and a concentrate. When using Plantskydd in a spray bottle or a sprayer, you can avoid clogging when finished using by removing the sprayer, rinsing it with clear water and replacing the original cap on the. product container.
To find a Plantskydd dealer near you go to plantskydd.com and click on Find A Store.
Nancy Szerlag is a master gardener and Metro Detroit freelance writer. Her column appears Fridays in Homestyle. Email her at Yardener.com , Ask Nancy. You can also read her previous columns at detroitnews.com/homestyle.