Make This Simple Spray To Deter Deer From Your Garden

Instead of buying an expensive product, give this cheap and simple homemade spray a try.

December 28, 2017
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deer in garden
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For many gardeners, the biggest pest headache isn't aphids or or tomato horn worms—it's cute, innocent-looking deer. Once deer find something they like in your landscape (or get hungry enough to eat plants they once ignored) they'll return persistently night after night to much your favorite bushes, flowers, and vegetables down to the root. There isn't much they won't eat, especially during a drought or harsh winter when your well-tended garden appears like an all-you-can-eat buffet in a the middle of a  food desert.

(Whether you're starting your first garden or switching to organic, Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening has all the answers and advice you need—get your copy today!)

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So what's a nature-loving, but fed-up gardener to do? Your first thought might be to purchase a natural deer repellent like Deer Off—and while it has fairly positive reviews, there's the high price point to consider and the fact that it may only work temporarily to keep deer at bay. Fencing, at least 8-feet high or electrified, is just about the only sure-fire way to keep deer out for good, but it can be both expensive and unattractive, or impractical for your space. (Though if you want to go for it, here are instructions for building a simple fence to keep critters out of your garden.)

Check out all the weird things organic gardeners do that actually work:

So before you invest in a commercial product or commit to a major building project, we suggest experimenting with a homemade concoction. Farmers and foresters spray plants with a repellent solution made of eggs and water (5 eggs blended in 5 quarts water per quarter-acre). Eggs are the active ingredient in some commercial deer repellents, and they typically hate the smell. 

Related: Why A Wildlife Expert Wants You To Stay Away From Deer In Your Yard

However, the trouble with repellent sprays, no matter how effective, is that they wash off in rain or snowfall. Even without precipitation, they wear away over time. Plus, deer have to sample your plants to be deterred by the taste, so you'll still need to sacrifice at least a little bit of your garden.

Related: How To Keep Groundhogs And Other Critters From Destroying Your Garden


Using the egg spray in combination with other methods will give you the best results. (Here are some more DIY methods for keeping deer away.) Consider caging prized individual plants, installing a motion-activated light or sprinkler, adorning a single strand of electric fencing with strips of peanut-butter-coated foil, hanging bars of soap, and/or walking your dog in the area to achieve a reasonable level of control. Avoid putting plants that are favored by deer in places where they are likely to be browsed.