One of the biggest challenges I have faced on my wild homestead is dealing with deer. At first I wanted to live with them and use hedgerows to guide them away from sensitive plants.
Yeah, that didn’t work—the hedgerows got munched before they could get established.
So I eventually installed fences first around specific planting areas and now around my entire 2.86 acre property. Some of this is brand new deer fencing, some is just extensions on existing fences and some are double fences around my hedgerows.
A bit of a hodgepodge but after 4 years of dealing with deer they’re finally staying out.
But sometimes a fence isn’t an option. So what else can you do?
This week’s blog post—How to Deal with Deer on Your Wild Homestead
—dives into 6 strategies that can work to keep deer from eating your plants.
I want to give a big thank you to my patrons over on Patreon for picking this blog post topic. Each month they get to vote on a list of questions that I’ve been asking on Facebook, here on permies, or via email. I then write a blog post based on the question that was voted #1—this post on dealing with deer was voted #1 by my patrons last month.
The 6 Strategies for Dealing with Deer
I should note that each of these strategies can work but they don’t always work. It really depends on how much deer pressure your site has.
On some of my restoration sites the deer pressure is fairly light and the deer really just walk around and it’s fairly easy to get them to leave certain plants alone by adding brush rings around them.
But on my own wild homestead the deer pressure has been very intense and in the end fencing my whole property was really the only viable option.
A lot of times a combination of strategies may be needed. Say brush rings around groups of fruit trees and shrubs, a full fence around your main garden, and individual fences around specific highly sensitive plants.
One strategy that isn’t listed on the blog post is hunting. This is mainly because it’s limited in its effectiveness. Often there are just too many deer for hunting to reduce their numbers enough. But also there are limits on when you can hunt and how many deer you can kill. This varies but because of these issues I left this strategy out. If this one works for you then that is your choice.
Here are the 6 strategies covered in the blog post. Make sure to check the post out
for more information about each of them.
- Strategy 1: Fence Your Whole Property
- Strategy 2: Fence Individual Plants or Small Groups of Plants
- Strategy 3: Dense Plantings – Mix in Plants Deer Don’t Like
- Strategy 4: Fence Specific Planting Areas and Your Garden
- Strategy 5: Use Branches and Brush Rings
- Strategy 6: Plant a hedgerow
After trying several of these strategies on my own wild homestead I ended up fencing my whole property and I’m now planting hedgerows all along it. The long-term goal is for the hedgerows to replace my fences. But that will take a fair bit of time.
What Strategies Do You Use?
But sometimes even the best strategies don’t work. It’s important to take time to observe the deer on your land and start to understand their patterns and habits.
Eventually I figured out where the core routes the deer liked to take were and I made sure to reinforce those sections with stronger (more expensive) fences. The result is that I don’t have deer breaking through my fence anymore!
The blog post goes more into what you can learn by observing deer and how that can guide your efforts to manage them. The post also covers the 6 strategies in more details.
So please check it out!
And please let me know what strategies you use to deal with deer on your wild homestead.
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make sure to leave a post here on permies too so I can easily give you the slice of pie.
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