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OUTDOORS: “Deer” is a four-letter word

OUTDOORS: “Deer” is a four-letter word

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For those of us who enjoy a flower or vegetable garden and plants and shrubs in our yards, “deer” is truly a four-letter word. When I was boy back in the hills of West Virginia, there were no deer to speak of. Now, we have deer that bed down in our backyard—or we used to.

We stopped the deer from coming in our yard with a six-foot-high fence. Deer can jump that high, but they need safe landing places and we have taken those away. The squirrels then took over as public garden enemy number one. When my wife Nancy set out potted plants, the squirrels had a field day—digging up everything in sight as they did with the freshly planted seeds in my garden. What the squirrels missed, the rabbits finished off. Raccoons also made their presence known. One night, a raccoon ate every single tomato I had on the vines. They also made a raid in our goldfish pond, taking several of the larger goldfish and eating a number of large snails that we had to keep the pond clean.

I have now declared subdivision war on not only deer, but also rabbits, squirrels and raccoons—all of which can destroy a garden.

First step? A Deerbusters fence around my garden. Deerbuster manufactures all the parts necessary to build a long-lasting barrier for your lawn or garden and the parts are assembled like a giant Erector set. I enclosed my entire garden—top and sides—and have not had a single pest intrude since. For those who perhaps want a smaller protected space, maybe for a few tomato plants or melons, Deerbusters can help there as well.

To keep raccoons and other varmints at bay, we bought two Night Guard Solar lights, and so far, they have done the job. Night Guard Solar utilizes a solar panel to charge an energy-efficient LED light and an automatic photosynthesis switch so the unit will turn on when you need it to. The flashing red light throughout the night imitates the reflection of an eye of another predator, such as a coyote or a bobcat; this spooks and discourages the nighttime intruders and causes them to leave the area.

Another product many have used with success is Milorganite. Milorganite is one of the oldest branded fertilizers on the market. It’s composed of heat-dried microbes that have digested the organic matter in wastewater. Milorganite is manufactured in Milwaukee, where the wastewater from the metropolitan Milwaukee area, including several of the beer companies, is captured, processed and turned into fertilizer. Deer hate it; it reminds them too much of humans. It is an excellent lawn fertilizer and it keeps deer away for several months at a time. Heavy rains, though, reduce its effectiveness.

Another product that helps keep pests away is Repels All. It comes in both spray and granules and includes ingredients that cause irritants to an animal’s nasal passages. It is effective on squirrel, deer, rabbit, chipmunk, mouse, skunk, rat, beaver, raccoon, porcupine, bird, groundhog and more rodent species, but it has to be used often and after every rain. Ultimately, experts suggest that you use a variety of repellants so the pests won’t get used to any single one.

If all else fails, invest in a Deerbuster fence to protect your plants and vegetables. It’s one product that really works.

—Contact Jim Brewer at j44brewer@gmail.com

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