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Does lavender really work at warding away deer?

 
Posts: 10
Location: Zone 5b
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Hi, My family moved to a new house about one and a half years ago now, and it came with lots of nice plants.  Come summer last year, we realized that there are LOTS of deer around here that will eat almost anything.  We had a heck of a time trying to keep them away from our plants (they even eat lilac?).  I recently heard that they tend to stay away from lavender, is it possible that it could be used as a fence to keep the deer away from certain plants?  And if so, how tall would the lavender have to be compared to the plant it would guard?  Thanks!
 
pollinator
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Heiden,

Welcome to permies!

Deer can be excluded (electric or really tall fence) tolerated (non-palatable plants, or maybe Sepp Holzers Bone Sauce (noxious). Other than that there are lots of threads using the search function that show all the things people have tried. Success stories are included below...


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In my experience, deer-resistant plants surrounding deer-vulnerable plants do not prevent the deer-vulnerable plants from being destroyed by deer.  My Spineless Prickly Pears were surrounded by Rosemary, which is entirely deer-resistant.  The deer ate the Prickly Pears wherever they could reach them over or around the Rosemary.

So far nothing has worked but fencing, so I am putting a double fence around the entire homestead (approximately 1 acre).
 
pollinator
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Not a practical solution for most zone 1, but fruit saplings surrounded by thorny wild blackberries tend to be left alone.
 
Heiden Lentz
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Tj Jefferson wrote:Heiden,

Welcome to permies!

Deer can be excluded (electric or really tall fence) tolerated (non-palatable plants, or maybe Sepp Holzers Bone Sauce (noxious). Other than that there are lots of threads using the search function that show all the things people have tried. Success stories are included below...


(It's blank)


That's... not really what I asked?  But thank you?
 
Heiden Lentz
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Tyler Ludens wrote:In my experience, deer-resistant plants surrounding deer-vulnerable plants do not prevent the deer-vulnerable plants from being destroyed by deer.  My Spineless Prickly Pears were surrounded by Rosemary, which is entirely deer-resistant.  The deer ate the Prickly Pears wherever they could reach them over or around the Rosemary.

So far nothing has worked but fencing, so I am putting a double fence around the entire homestead (approximately 1 acre).


Hmmm, I wonder if it would work on plants shorter than the lavender?  I'm mainly thinking Hostas, the house came with a lot of them out front, and the deer ate literally all of them last year.  They might stay away from the lilac leaves once it starts blooming again, so it wouldn't be a total bummer if the lavender wouldn't work for that.  Thanks for your input!
 
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Hi there! And welcome...

We have lot's of deer, too. I have found that the only foolproof* way to keep them out of our gardens and orchards is with fencing.

BUT - I have noticed no break-ins since we have ringed our main gardens on the outside of the fence with all sorts of fragrants - including lavender.

We currently have Lavender (full grown at 3 feet by 3 feet) of all varieties in beds that ring our gardens next to beds of chives and egyptian walking onions, multiplier onions and other alliums. We have planted rosemary (now full grown at 4 feet by 4 feet and pruned every year) and things like Clary sage. We have also planted lot's of thyme, sage, lemon balm, and different flowers like daffodils and calendula. I have planted lavender next to all my fruit trees in a guild with other plants, such as comfrey, strawberry and garlic. In the hopes that the deer will leave them be.

We take the "more is more" approach to gardening and just try to add heft and weight in terms of sheer volume to attack predation on all fronts. Plus, in the summer when the herbs have been baking all day in the heat, it's a slice of heaven to walk out in the main staple gardens and just breathe it all in....

If you do plant, maybe go for width instead of height? Like, put rosemary in a row, then stagger plant lavender in front of that, then some strategically placed barberry, then some low lying herbs like sage, thyme and intersperse with chives?

I would say go for it - or maybe just plant a bunch of herbs and fragrants and enjoy those! Because the deer don't bother with them. And they are pretty. Also blood meal works really well, but MY, it is nasty smelling and has to be reapplied after heavy rainfall.

Good luck!



*until they break down the fence, that is...
 
Heiden Lentz
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Lindsey Jane wrote:Hi there! And welcome...

We have lot's of deer, too. I have found that the only foolproof* way to keep them out of our gardens and orchards is with fencing.

BUT - I have noticed no break-ins since we have ringed our main gardens on the outside of the fence with all sorts of fragrants - including lavender.

We currently have Lavender (full grown at 3 feet by 3 feet) of all varieties in beds that ring our gardens next to beds of chives and egyptian walking onions, multiplier onions and other alliums. We have planted rosemary (now full grown at 4 feet by 4 feet and pruned every year) and things like Clary sage. We have also planted lot's of thyme, sage, lemon balm, and different flowers like daffodils and calendula. I have planted lavender next to all my fruit trees in a guild with other plants, such as comfrey, strawberry and garlic. In the hopes that the deer will leave them be.

We take the "more is more" approach to gardening and just try to add heft and weight in terms of sheer volume to attack predation on all fronts. Plus, in the summer when the herbs have been baking all day in the heat, it's a slice of heaven to walk out in the main staple gardens and just breathe it all in....

If you do plant, maybe go for width instead of height? Like, put rosemary in a row, then stagger plant lavender in front of that, then some strategically placed barberry, then some low lying herbs like sage, thyme and intersperse with chives?

I would say go for it - or maybe just plant a bunch of herbs and fragrants and enjoy those! Because the deer don't bother with them. And they are pretty. Also blood meal works really well, but MY, it is nasty smelling and has to be reapplied after heavy rainfall.

Good luck!



*until they break down the fence, that is...


This is really helpful!  Thank you so much!  I'm unsure if there is enough space to layer that many plants next to my hostas, but you've given me some great food for thought!  I'm also not sure if rosemary would overwinter here though unfortunately.  I was however already planning on planting some calendula out front, and my guinea pig adores chives, so maybe I'd do a barrier of lavender-calendula chives?  Hmmm.
 
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Deer resistant plants get eaten by deer.  They may try tasting them and destroy the plant in doing so even though they didn't like it and spit it out.

My lavender plants are two years old and are only 6" tall. I can't tell you if they are deer resistant because of the fence.

The chives I planted because they were deer resistant got eaten down to the ground.  The nice thing about chives is that they are meant to be eaten so they will grow back.

The deer have never bothered my blue sage and fire wheels. This is where I planted the chives.

They have never bothered my turks cap either.
 
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Hi Heiden,

I've tried a lot of things to repel deers but without much success. Experimented with junipers as a barrier but no luck. They reach everything they want.

I have to agree with the others that only a solid fence can do the trick..

Jason
 
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Heiden Lentz wrote:Hi, My family moved to a new house about one and a half years ago now, and it came with lots of nice plants.  Come summer last year, we realized that there are LOTS of deer around here that will eat almost anything.  We had a heck of a time trying to keep them away from our plants (they even eat lilac?).  I recently heard that they tend to stay away from lavender, is it possible that it could be used as a fence to keep the deer away from certain plants?  And if so, how tall would the lavender have to be compared to the plant it would guard?  Thanks!



While it is true that deer don't eat lavender, you would have to plant an 8 to 10 foot wide strip of it all the way around anything you didn't want deer to eat.
It does not grow tall enough to prevent them from jumping or simply walking through it.

Deer do not jump fences they can not see their landing area through or over.
Deer will quickly learn to not test a single strand electric fence (if you put some peanut butter in small globs along the wire) once they feel the charge, the peanut butter is irresistible to deer and the jolt to the tongue is enough to keep them away after one incident.
White strips of cloth tied so they will move in the breeze but not wrap up also work very well at keeping deer out of places you don't want them.

If you have dogs, the scent of the dogs will keep the deer at a distance. If you have hogs, their scent will also keep deer away (deer hate hogs).

Redhawk
 
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