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How To Prevent Wintertime Deer Damage To Your Landscape

Preventing the damage wintertime deer can bring to the landscape is a high priority for many homeowners all around the country.

Although deer can damage trees, shrubs and flowerbeds in the spring, summer and fall, it is often in the winter when they are most hungry. And, when they can cause the most serious of damage!

wintertime deer damage
Deer, like much of the wildlife in the winter, are looking for food anywhere they can find it.

Here are some effective methods to keep deer from ruining your plants and landscape this winter.

How To Prevent Wintertime Damage From Deer


Topping the list is of course fencing. Fencing is the only tried and true method to keep deer away from plants.

Unfortunately, to provide total protection, it has to be tall enough to keep them away from your plants. And that can sometimes be prohibitively expensive.

Deer fencing needs to be a minimum of 8’ high for maximum effectiveness.

garden fencing
Deer fencing, to be totally effective, needs to be a minimum of 8′ in height.

Smaller fencing will keep some deer at bay, but with their ability to jump, 8′ is needed for total control.

With that said, for small vegetable and flower gardens, a simple metal post and wire fence 5 to 6′ tall can be fairly protective. But the key is it has to be a small space.

Deer do not like to jump into confined spaces. And if the space is small enough, a smaller fence will work.


A great way to protect individual trees, small bushes, or small flowerbeds from deer is with netting.

It is a great secondary option when fencing is not a feasible choice.

Deer fencing can be easily installed using large wood or metal stakes and secured with a few zip ties. It can also be re-used from year to year.

Netting can be used to protect everything from small bushes, to flowerbeds and larger trees.

At around $30 for 100’ x 7’ roll, deer netting can be an economical solution. Affiliate Link : 100′ Deer Netting

For large trees and bushes, use a few stakes on either side to support the netting. Wrap the netting loosely around the stakes to make it difficult for deer to reach the plants.

For flowerbeds and small shrubs, simply cover the area and zip tie to a small branch, or secure with a few small stakes.

Using Sprays To Deter Deer

Sprays, whether homemade or commercially purchased, are another option to protect trunks, branches and plant foliage.

Homemade sprays such as egg-based or hot pepper sprays can also be highly effective to deter winter deer.

When homemade sprays are not an option, there are commercially available repellent sprays available.

A gallon solution of 6 fresh eggs and water is a widely known and accepted remedy to keep deer from touching plants.

Simply mix in a blender, and apply the solution with a pump sprayer. Always be sure to cover high enough (6 to 8′) where the deer can reach.

Homemade hot pepper spray is another well-known and effective deterrent for deer as well.

prevent wintertime deer damage
If you begin to notice damage on trunks and branches in the winter, applying a deterrent can help keep deer away.

Use a cup of freshly blended hot peppers ( habanero & cayenne are two of the best) along with 8 cups of water to create.

Allow the mixture to sit for a few days. Next, simply strain the mixture and apply with a pump sprayer. Always use both goggles and gloves when making and applying for personal protection.

Commercial products often come with the spray nozzle in place. It can be a quick solution to protect plants from deer and other pests See : Affiliate product link ; Liquid Fence Deer Spray

With all sprays, remember to re-apply after rains or snows to keep the effective barrier on foliage and branches.

Plant Smart From The Start

Last but not least, planting smart from the start is one of the best ways to keep deer damage to a minimum.

Planting deer-resistant varieties of plants goes a long way to keep landscape plants in tact.

For example, ornamental grass varieties are a great choice for planting. Not only are they often ignored by deer, they can help hide and protect plants that deer love.

prevent wintertime deer damage
Ornamental grasses are a great deer-resistant planting.

When you do plant deer favorites, plant in areas close to the house, or that are easy to protect with a net or simple deer fence.

Remember that planting a few rows of strawberries out in the open is like setting up a buffet for hungry wintertime deer.

For other great articles on dealing with pests, check out our Pest Control Category page.

This Is My Garden is a website dedicated to spreading the love and knowledge of gardening around the world. We publish two new garden articles each week. This article may contain affiliate links.