Gardening can be so rewarding. You plant the tiny seeds and baby plants, carefully watering them and with gentle care you see them grow and are compensated with delicious fruit and vegetables.
Sometimes something goes wrong though… something you just weren’t expecting…
That’s exactly what happened to us this week. The day started out calm and sweet… I had no idea what I was about to face. We were sitting on the screen porch enjoying our morning coffee just taking in the views of our backyard gardens and enjoying the birds singing their morning songs, when suddenly my husband said, “Hey, what happened to your apple tree?”
It was just yesterday afternoon that I had remarked how well the fruit trees were doing. I planted 5 trees total, 2 cherries and 3 apples. Though they came in a dormant state, they all had really healthy new growth on them. Funny how things can change in a single day.
Coffee was over.
Once I went around and inspected what exactly was wrong with my apple tree, I was sick to my stomach! Overnight a deer had just moseyed around my back yard and enjoyed an appetizer here and there.
The measly 5 or 10 new little leaves on my fruit tree were nothing but an appetizer to the deer, but to the tree, that’s all it had. These are wee baby trees, they are just whips, a deer could easily eat the whole blooming tree in about 3 seconds.
There was a lot of ‘gol-dangits’ coming out of my mouth during the garden inspection.
From the fruit trees, both apples and cherries were dined upon, the deer moved over to the vines:
Funny how they just munched a leaf here and there on the cukes and zucchini.
Crying’s over, this was war.
I don’t mean the beginning of a battle between the deer and me, this was a simple war. The thing is, I don’t have enough vegetable plants and fruit trees to carry on a battle with the deer… They could wipe out my crop pretty much in a single night. This was going to have to be a quick and concise response that would (hopefully) end it once and for all. There goes all the old wive’s tales like hanging Irish Spring and the like… No, this was going to have to be a little more scientific and yet easy to do this very day. (A shotgun was tempting, but that was out as well. LOL)
We needed a simple deer proofing barrier ASAP!
Funny thing is, my mom, who truly is a wise old wife, LOL said to me just a few weeks ago about the need to be mindful to watch for the deer in my backyard, and me in my ever-so-smartie-pants response assured her that we are in town and our yard is fenced, so we wouldn’t need to be worrying about such things. (Yes, we do live in town, but on the edge of town where the deer seem to have figured out they’re safer than in the country, because no hunting in town. Come to find out, the deer have actually become a nuisance to many folks in town.) Mom also reminded me that deer can easily leap over a fence, especially a low picket fence like ours.
At first I was thinking I’d need to surround each fruit tree with a deer fence, but then what about my other plants? I wasn’t going to be able to individually fence each planter, (here you can see my raised bed planters) I needed to keep the deer out of the entire backyard. After some research online, I found a simple deer proofing remedy that sounded like a good fit for our garden, (check out the end of this post for a link to that video).
We have a tall fence and a building on the back of the yard, and a deep drop off with a fence on top of it on the other side, but on just this one side of the yard, there is a gentle slope with a 3′ picket fence. That’s the side we concentrated on… pretty sure that’s the side they’ve entered the backyard through.
Here are our simple supplies, (shopping links at end of post for you): 4 tall T-posts and some 50# test line, (you know, fishing line).
The whole idea is to set up posts and tie the line to it horizontally creating an invisible barrier, (nearly invisible) that sort of freaks the deer out when they try to enter. In our case, they would try to leap over the picket fence, but instead be met with an invisible barrier that was higher than the picket fence and since they couldn’t see it, would serve as a simple deer proofing barrier.
The video said that sometimes when light reflects on the line it could make it somewhat visible to the deer, so this dark green line seemed good to help prevent that as much as possible.
A fence post driver makes easy work of the posts going in…. (oh, I bet you thought I was talking about the tool… that is very helpful as well… but I was talking about my husband… he’s swell at helping on the muscle part of projects like this).
Once the posts were in place, just one on each corner, about 2′ outside of the picket fence. I tied the fishing line to the posts creating several horizontal rows of nearly invisible line about 6″ apart.
See, it is nearly invisible, isn’t it?!
Since we have a gate we use during the day, we have a temporary set up for that. We just move the line across for the evening after we’re done using the gate for the day.
So that’s what it looks like all finished:
I think I’ll paint the fence posts all black so that they blend in a little bit better.
It’s been a week and so far not a single deer has been into the back yard for an appetizer (or their main entree! Yikes!) I think this simple deer proofing fence is actually working!
I will keep you updated on it and let you know if this continues to successfully keep the deer out…
Now, to the blossom end rot on the tomatoes… I have a plan… check back!
To see the video that inspired us, check it out here.
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Want to read more? Here are all the posts I’ve written about gardening.