Ashleigh Smith + photo

Ashleigh Smith

Feb 7
2 min read
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Preventing damage to your garden by critters such as deer and rabbits doesn’t have to be as hard as it may sound. Animals tend to dislike plants with fuzzy textures and strong scents. This makes adding ornamental plants to your garden a perfect way to deter pests without applying pesticides.

They can also help attract beneficial insects while deterring other pests. If you usually have problems with pests inhabiting your garden space, check out our Pest Troubleshooting Guide for specific tips to control large populations.

It's important to remember almost no plant is truly resistant to animals. If they are hungry enough, animals will still go for the plants they find unpleasant. To help further protect your garden utilize protective structures such as fencing, chicken wire, and netting. Netting may also help protect your crops from birds throughout the harvest season.

If you live in an area prone to extreme heat use a shade net to also reduce scorching. Planning out your garden ahead of time can help you to get the most out of a small area and get the most out of your protective plants. Arrange climbing plants near your fencing, preventative plants near garden openings, and plants for beneficial insects throughout the garden. To prevent wildlife from eating your harvest, include some of the following plants in your garden plans.

Plants Deer and Rabbits Find Unpleasant:

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I’m just gonna say my deer LOVE liriope. LOL!

mechele see

They eat everything in my yard and gardens. Even my tomato plants and pepper plants. The old ways don’t work on them anymore. I plant marigolds around all of my gardens. The rabbits ate them. The deer ignore them. I have found the only thing that works is to fence them out. And that fence has to be strong and high.

Sharon Brosnan

They eat my liriope down to the crown. A plant they have never bothered until this year is my once beautiful japonica which has really tough leaves but the beggars ate them anyway. I use repellant spray but it only works if I apply it every 3 days.

Vern Staley

I found an electric fence works very well to keep deer out of my tomatoes


Do you have advice on anything I can plant to deter snakes?

Zola Hunt

Deer love my tall garden phlox. They prefer them when they are just getting ready to bloom. Then they come in and eat the flower buds/tops off of every single stem. I have a very prickly old fashioned rambling rose and they even eat the tender green shoots from that very thorny rose bush. Deer especially love to eat the new growth of my blackberry bushes, leaving me without a crop for more than one season. They do not touch my oriental poppies and they leave my bachelor buttons and cosmos alone, except for trampling the cosmos as they hop over my 5’ picket fence where the cosmos are planted. My only success with preventing deer damage is a 7’ high deer fence. Even then they have knocked it down in a few spots in an attempt to get at my garden so I have to be constantly vigilant in maintaining my fence and keeping gates closed. Deer seem to have a special affinity to my raised gardening beds where they love to bed down in the winter.

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