Our mission is to share the wonders of the natural world by publishing books from experts in the fields of gardening, horticulture, and natural history. Grow with us.

Deer are as thirsty as your plants are

by Timber Press on August 15, 2011

in Design, Gardening

I’d like to welcome guest poster Ruth Rogers Clausen, author of 50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants. Don’t forget to enter to win a copy of her book and a pair of Womanswork gloves in our giveaway this week!

In times of summer drought, deer are as thirsty as your plants are. Imagine this for a moment: many of the streams, creeks, and puddles where you usually drink have dried up and the days are hot. But there’s a lovely garden nearby where the owners have just installed a whole bunch of succulent-looking impatiens and Coleus; the lilies and daylilies are in bloom, and the hosta leaves just look so luscious.

Impatiens hawkeri “Super Sonic Dark Salmon”

Deer candy for certain! What self-respecting Mama deer wouldn’t lead her family to pay a dinner visit one evening? Best of all, the sprinkler was left on overnight. That garden would be pegged for meals down the road, and possibly every season after, even beyond the dry weather. Don’t put out the welcome mat for these hungry feeders, but follow these tips from the following excerpt from 50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants:

Water wisely, especially during times of drought. Rather than sprinkling just a little every day, water deeply once a week or so to encourage deep rooting and strong, sturdy, and less palatable plants. During dry spells especially, leaves that are wet in the evening are sure targets for night deer browsing. If watering by hand or with a sprinkler do it early in the morning or in early evening so the foliage dries off before nightfall.

Better yet, use economical soaker hoses or drip irrigation to water at ground level instead of the overhead sprinklers that soak the leaves. Irrigate at ground level with a soaker hose to avoid wetting the foliage. If leaves remain wet going into the night, they are also more susceptible to the development of fungal diseases. Expect to find greater deer pressure in your garden during summer droughts.

Previous post:

Next post: