A Garden in Spite of Deer...and Groundhogs, and Raccoons... You Can Grow That!

I wish I'd been home when it happened. My sister Donna was visiting from Michigan and hadn't gotten out of bed yet when I realized we needed creamer. I returned from the store to find her looking like she'd been involved in a water balloon fight. One side of her hair was flattened and soggy, her shorts were drenched on one hip and she greeted me wringing out the front of her shirt. And I'd only been gone a few minutes.

"I was strolling in your garden," she said. But her tone was accusatory.

"Did it rain here," I asked, thinking perhaps we had finally had an anticipated cloudburst while I was in the store.

"I thought you got a new garden ornament--something abstract, but with eyes," she said. "I was standing there with my cup of coffee and stooping down for a closer look..."

"Oh no!" I exclaimed. "The Scarecrow!"

"Is that what you call it," she asked, more calmly now and with her humor and dignity returning.

I explained that the Scarecrow is the name given by Contech for its deer deterrent sprinkler that emits a high pressure spray of water along with a sound whenever a deer (or unsuspecting garden stroller) was detected.

"Did you finish your garden stroll," I asked her.

She hadn't, which is a good thing, because she might have thought I was out to get her. I also had one of the new Havahart Spray Away Motion Activated Sprinklers near the tomatoes. The regular Havahart Spray Away works much like the Contech Scarecrow. It has additional features like a lighted low-battery system, adjustable sensor and larger coverage area. If my sister had encountered the Havahart model first, she probably wouldn't have gone in for a closer look. The Spray Away looks very much like what it is, its red light and sensor right up front and making no attempt to look like a garden ornament. I am still experimenting with its range and peripheral vision, and it seems to detect movement only in front of its sensor, while the Scarecrow goes off in a more unpredictable fashion--not a bad thing for deterring savvy deer or other wildlife.
Havahart Spray Away Motion Activated Sprinkler

Both systems must be connected to a hose, and I've added shut off toggles to each of them so that I can disarm them before entering the garden. I've gotten used to the last spurt remaining after turning them off from the hose connections. On warm days, their ineffectual final burst is refreshing.
Clever shut-off system.

If she had gone into the front garden, Donna would have been greeted, just off the path, by what might have passed for a buoy of some kind. But this would be the Spray Away Elite II hose-free motion-activated sprinkler.


Havahart Spray Away Elite II hose-free sprinkler.
The beauty of this model is that it doesn't have to be hooked up to a hose so you can place it anywhere--anywhere you can get to the shut-off button without getting sprayed. I was surprised and impressed when I unpacked this unit and discovered that it didn't need batteries. It is solar-powered, its panel right up at the top. It has lights that will tell you if its charge or its water level are low, but once it is charged, it works without another thought. It holds three and a half gallons of water and uses just two to three cups per blast.

All of the sprinklers were sent to me by the companies that make them. But if that had not been the case, I would have invested in them anyway.

I've been using the Contech Scarecrow for two seasons, the Havahart Spray Aways for just a month. The models that require a hose hook-up are priced around $60 each. Google them and you'll find both available at a fairly wide range of prices.
The hose-free sprinkler is much pricier, coming in at no less than $160. When the Scarecrow first came out many years ago, it could be had for around $100. Contech has perfected it since then and lowered its price. If I had to choose between the two hose hook-up models, it would be a toss-up. Of course, if I'd chosen the Havahart, I wouldn't have gotten to enjoy envisioning my sister's surprise as she bent in for a closer look at my new "garden ornament."

This blog is part of the You Can Grow That campaign where garden bloggers gather to offer their insights, experiences and photographs. Check out the link for more offerings.



Comments