Living with Deer by Bill Hayes

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For those of you that live in the country or in subdivisions that border the woods, we know that you have deer problems. Most of the problems concern the loss of plants that are eaten by the deer. Unless you have a pet mountain lion in your yard the deer will continue to return as long as there is a food supply. You can try deer resistant plants and flowers to discourage them. Here are a few plants that seem to survive where deer are present:

  • Bleeding heart, Boxwood
  • Coneflower(Echinacea)
  • Holly
  • Iris
  • Marigold
  • Nasturtium
  • Northern red oak
  • Snapdragon
  • Spruce
  • Strawflower
  • Yucca
  • Zinnia
  • Lantana

Try Milorganite to repel deer.

What is Milorganite?

Milorganite is a processed sewage sludge that originates from Milwaukee. Sewage sludges are residue of organic matter generated as a byproduct of wastewater treatment. After wastewater treatment, the water is removed and the waste is heated and dried, then made into small granules. The heating process kills viral and bacterial pathogens. The trade name Milorganite R was derived from MILwaukee ORGAnic NITroEn. This treated sludge is sold as a natural fertilizer with a formulation of 6-2-0 (N-P-K).

Will Milorganite Keep Deer Away?

A Cornell Extension agent in New York tested Milorganite on ornamentals that deer liked to eat and found it effective. His plots included yews,
tulips, and hostas. His research in New York found that broadcasting this fertilizer at 5 pounds/100 sq feet, applied every two weeks reduced deer damage in the summer when alternative foods were available to deer. It was not proven to be effective in the winter when other food sources were not available.
In another research test, Milorganite tied in sachets reduced damage to Yew shrubs. At Berry College, in Georgia, Milorganite was found to reduce damage to Chrysanthemums in two different locations. Milorganite was applied overhead at 4 oz. per plant. In this study Milorganite did not completely emilinate deer damage, but it did greatly reduce it. They suggest reapplying the product after the first sign of damage.

In another study in Georgia, they research the effect of Milorganite to repel deer from food plots. Milorganite did reduce damage to soybean crops. It may not be perfect but it is worth a try!