Deer are a problem in many gardens, but one way to stop their costly dining habits in your yard is by selectively netting over the most tasty tidbits as a means of protection. Netting is a one-time fix, and comes in several types of sizes and makes, to repel everything from mammals to birds. The best forms of netting that keep animals out and your flowers still visible is polypropylene mesh netting.
Polypropylene netting is sold at a variety of home and garden centers, and usually comes in rolls with varying sizes of square holes. For a deer-proof netting set-up I recommend using a 1 inch square netting. The one inch hole size will block the deer’s access to your flowers while still being visually “airy” enough to see through, and works best visually with 59 inch fiberglass hoops.
How to Use it:
Combine the polypropylene netting with fiberglass hoops, placing the hoops 8 to 12 inches apart, and draping the fabric over it. Secure the netting with more hoops, tucking the netting underneath the edges or the hoops before driving them into the ground, or anchor the edges with lawn staples.
Why Netting and Hoops?
Many varieties of natural fabrics are available that can block deer, but most man-made fabrics also block the view of the plants, and are designed with a very tight weave to protect fruits and vegetables from frost and insects. Polypropylene is designed to withstand several season’s worth of sun light, wind and the varied temperatures that disintegrate man-made fabrics much quicker. Netting barriers are also a smart choice for the gardener who doesn’t want to mess with costly or smelly applications, because netting doesn’t need re-application like sprays and powders do.
I think that the netting and hoop combination serves as a better barrier in areas that see a lot of deer traffic as well. If several groups of deer visit your home on different nights of the week, spray repellents may have to be taste tested by each group before they decide to leave you garden alone. Spray apps like liquid fence do work well, but some deer insist on taste testing a favorite plant several times before deciding that your garden is inedible, and even if they do not consume you flowers they may continually un-plant them in their eagerness to try them out. For heavily trafficked area the best thing to do it to keep the deer physically away from your garden plants, and this netting and hoop combination is a way to accomplish that feat, while still keeping your garden aesthetically appealing!
Looking for More Ideas?
If you need tips on keeping birds out of your garden more than deer, read about how to protect your fruits and veggies from birds.
Need a bigger and more permanent solution to keep deer and other wildlife out of your garden? Try using 1/2 inch PVC piping from your local Home Depot to create the hoops. For raised planter boxes, secure a smaller 6 inch sections of 3/4 inch PVC piping to the sides of the box to secure your 1/2 inch PVC hoops to. Slide the 1/2 inch hoops inside the 3/4 inch hoops, and secure any netting you choose to the hoops with zip ties as needed.