Growing deer populations in many areas across the U.S. has led to an increasing number of problems with deer damaging and sometimes destroying home gardens and ornamental shrubs.
After several years and many damaged and lost plantings, in desperation, my sister and her husband spent several weekends installing 6-foot high fence to virtually surround their home, located in a wooded college town in Connecticut. At my property in another small Connecticut village, hordes of local deer practically denuded mature ornamental evergreen shrubs last fall and winter. It got so bad that I had to wrap all of the shrubs with fine netting and spray all of the shrubbery with an oil based cayenne pepper spray. It dried on the needles with a long lasting wax-like coating. The overall effect made the ornamental plantings look less attractive, but at least now they have a chance to recover and survive. Two seasons in succession of new growth foliage being eaten off of mature plants and shrubs can cause serious stunting and in some cases, total loss.
To add insult to injury, here in the Northeast, providing more food for the local deer population (even unintentionally) can result in many more deer. This threatens not just the health of our gardens and shrubs, but our own health, because more deer means more deer ticks and hence more chances of contracting Lyme disease.
Click here for an article from The Gardeners Network that features a variety of means to discourage and/or prevent deer from using your garden and shrubs as a smorgasbord.