If you’re fighting an endless battle with deer, you are probably asking yourself, “why are the deer attracted to myyard?” This is especially true if your yard is suffering more damage than your neighbors. There are a few reasons this happens. Knowing those reasons is the first step toward creating a viable deer proofing strategy.
Reason 1: Food
The first reason why deer are attracted to your yard is the fact that your yard is providing them a ready buffet on which to feast. Yes, there are many plants that are deer resistant, but most people plant what they like, and soon learn that the deer like it too. Deer eat a number of things. Their food sources are broken down into three categories. The first is forbs, which are tender, young herbaceous perennials and annuals like horseherb, coleus, and petunias. The second category is browse, which is tender leaves and twigs on shrubs and trees. The third category is mast, which includes acorns, nuts, and berries. All of these are choice munchies for deer, especially if in extreme drought conditions.
Reason 2: Shelter
Deer primarily migrate across their territory at dawn and dusk. So when the sun rises and temperatures heat up, they need a shady spot to stay cool. Usually this is on someone’s lawn beneath a big shade tree. While there they also like to grab a bite to eat, step on tender plants, knock over pots, and generally make a mess of things.
Reason 3: Access
Deer live and move about a territory that is roughly a one mile radius. As urbanization and development seeks locations near greenbelts and wooded areas, we’ve essentially plunked our homes right on their front door. Often deer are not relocated and continue to roam the same game trails they traveled long before the subdivision emerged. Chances are your home is right on the game trail, or worse, right on the access point from the green belt into the neighborhood. Their travel patterns vary somewhat throughout the year, but for the most part they are creatures of habit and it’s hard to train them to go bug someone else.
In my course on Deer “Proofing” Your Garden I go into greater detail about how to develop an understanding of deer behavior and use it to create a deer proofing strategy. You can start by eliminating food sources and placing deterrents at entry points to your property to start teaching the deer that they are not welcome in your yard. You can also take the free mini course on deer resistant plants and learn more about what plants are better choices for your garden. Just fill out the form below.