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Seat-of-the-Pants Deer-proofing: You Can Grow That!



 
   
Magnolia x wieseneri at Gossler Farms Nursery
It happens every year: I suddenly realize we're heading into winter, the time of year our deer herd counts on my garden for a grab and go meal. Do I arm myself through the year with sensible and easy to use deer-proofing methods? Of course not! That would be too easy.
I use what's on hand, because if I stop to shop for something better, I might not get back to the task. So I improvise, sometimes to hideous results.

This year's winner of the ugliest deer-proofing covers up our latest Magnolia acquisition: Magnolia x wieseneri, a cross between M. sieboldii and M. hypoleuca.
 


Wire cage on Magnolia
Because of its youth and succulent (to a deer) bark, I decided to give it some coddling to get it through its first year. The results aren't pretty. I wrapped green coated wire fencing around the trunk, but knowing how determined deer are, I needed to prevent them from reaching down inside the 4-foot tall barrier for a snack. I found a nylon mesh bag used for bulbs (I knew it would come in handy) and stretched it across the top, anchoring it with twist ties. That left only the top, which contains a nice fat bud. "Uh uh," I thought as I dug around for another cover. "This bud's not for you."
 
As luck would have it I still had one of those large party favor bags made of nylon that I'd used in an attempt to keep hydrangea buds from freezing. That didn't work out, but the perky little bags did deter rampant deer-munching. So now it looks like a little old lady with a shawl and a tiny head. Or Ichabod Crane's nemesis, the Headless Horseman, or at least the Semi-Headless Horseman.
 
The Magnolia is safe, but it sure looks sorry. It's a good thing plants don't get embarrassed.  
 
The best deer deterrents involve some type of fencing. You don't have to get anything fancy, but remember: you'll probably have to look at it all winter. So I'm trying to figure out how I can decorate this for the holidays.
 
To learn about other things you can grow, visit the other bloggers on the You Can Grow That website:
http://www.youcangrowthat.com/