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The Deer Dilemma

With the new growth of spring and early summer also comes hungry deer. Though enjoyable to watch, deer can cause extensive damage by feeding on flowers, shrubs, and trees. Deer are not picky so no plant is truly "deer proof." However, choosing deer resistant plant materials and spraying safe deer repellents are two ways to resist deer. Adequate fencing, however, is the only sure way to protect deer from landscaping.

Some types of plants are less tasty to deer than others. Perennial flower suggestions include purple coneflower, shasta daisy, Russian sage, and lily-of-the-valley. Shrubs to try include potentilla, blue mist spirea, golden currant, and lilacs. Tree possibilities are Colorado spruce, pinon pine, Rocky Mountain maple, and hackberry. CSU Extension offers a Table of plants and their relative susceptibility to deer browsing.

Deer repellents can be used to varying effectiveness. CSU extension says a mixture of 80 percent water and 20 percent whole eggs is one of the most effective repellents. The treatment is weather resistant but must be reapplied about once a month.The site offers a list of other repellents and their effectiveness for deer and elk.

Adequate fencing is the only sure way to protect landscaping from deer, according to the Colorado State University Extension website, which also noted it is difficult to move deer out of an area. The website recommends an 8-foot-high woven wire fence. Electric fences can also be used.

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