Do Not Tempt Fate …

… and definitely don’t reach out and tweak her nose.

Yesterday, on the Anxious Gardener Facebook page, I posted a photo of some deer in one of Margaret’s fields and jokingly said that I hoped they wouldn’t  come into the gardens.

This morning, on arriving for work, I found this:

DSC_0013

Apple Cox’s Orange Pippin’ – take my word for it.

And:

Apple ‘Worcester Pearmain’

It is my own stupid fault.  Deer have been in the meadow before and three years ago damaged a couple of the trees.  I quickly rigged up some netting baffles but they were ugly and I became complacent.  Last spring they were removed and stored away.  Until today that is, when I spent the morning putting them back up.

This is a temporary solution as I now realise that I need to do what I should have done from the outset:  erect proper posts and wire around each tree.  Thankfully, despite a bit of a nibble, they didn’t really touch the other eight fruit trees or the gingko or the red oak, also planted in the meadow.

Later on the east lawn, near the house, I found lots of deep pointy hoof-prints and droppings.  So my theory about them never coming across the ditch and approaching the house is also defunct.  This is a real problem as there are many young trees, dozens of beech hedging plants and countless shrubs throughout the garden.  And I’m not sure what to do about this threat.  At least not yet.

And the deer photo?  Here it is:

Fallow (I think) Deer

Lovely aren’t they?  Or so I thought yesterday.

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18 thoughts on “Do Not Tempt Fate …

  1. The only deterrent is to shoot them. A good rifle, a spot of training, a well-built hide, and some excellent venison in exchange for being out at dawn…what more could you ask? If you can’t do it yourself,you’ll easily be able to find someone who will.

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    • Indeed Mr K. Deer numbers are controlled by shooting in th vicinity of the Priory but, of course, there will always be more in the area. I think I’ll just have to be prepared for the occasional (I hope) visit. D

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  2. If you figure out a cheap, easy way to get rid of them, let me know. We have some that come visit our vegetable garden every day and every night! (The dog does nothing.) We often joke that we’re planting the garden for the deer – but it’s no joke, really! 😦 Going to try fencing, but not sure how much we can afford!

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    • No such thing, I fear, Holley. I suspect, like you, I will need to get used to the odd incursion – not sure I could deal with them every day and night though! Brilliant broccoli by the way! D

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  3. It’s difficult isn’t it. I love deer but the thought of having them destroying my plants is another matter. I heard the other day, whilst up at the allotment talk that rabbits have made it onto the site. I love rabbits and have some particularly cute photos of a couple on my noticeboard in the kitchen but if they start eating my lettuce those photos might well end up on a dartboard. As for the allotment rabbits well there was talk of the mole catcher being called, I guess he has a side line in rabbit despatching as well. Hopefully the tree guards will put the deer off and they’ll go off somewhere else.

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    • I have an ongoing battle with rabbits, WW. The gardens are proofed but they often seem to find a way in – or one of the gates is left open. The Priory sits in the middle of fields and woods and so, there will always be some critter or other trying to get in. Though I’ve only ever seen one badger (up on the drive), I’m surprised one hasn’t barged through the netting yet. Having written that, it will now most likely happen! D

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  4. Oh deer! Can you do anything to stop the deer from coming into the gardens? A fence so high they can’t jump over that they can’t get under, either – I imagine that wouldn’t come cheap, though. I wonder how they react to lion dung – it’s meant to scare cats.

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    • Hi Karin, we’ve already spent a lot of money on rabbit netting on the post and rail fencing and to increase the height of the fence by another five foot would be really pricey. As it is it’s about 3 foot high and they obviously clear that easily.

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  5. Argh! Deer are almost as bad as squirrels, only it doesn’t do to say so, because they’re as big as we are. What a nuisance. As I recall from my rural days, the problem with most deterrents is that they lose effectiveness pretty quickly. Motion-sensor lights did help for a while. A (male, territorial, enthusiastically piddling) dog was the best–maybe borrow one of Margaret’s to mark the property? I never tried one of those motion-sensor water sprayers, but they looked like they could be good at least for some comic relief. Good luck keeping the little darlings at bay.

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    • I used a four letter word as well, Stacy – but not that one. I’ve tried petrol soaked rags tied to trees (there’s attractive) up on the drive and human hair but to no apparent benefit. Margaret only has girl dogs so that’s a non-starter also. There would have to be a lot of water sprayers and piping too. I suspect (and hope) that the little darlings will be an occasional pest only (no sign of them today) and I’ll just have to live with them. You told me that they looked pretty speculative, your deer whisperer, you. D

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    • Possibly I’d get regrowth, Elaine but it’ll take so long to get decent sized trees that I’m just going to replace them. Also it might be that the rootstock suckers rather than the stem. Deterrents? Non guaranteed as far as I know. D

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