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For such gorgeous and graceful animals, deer sure can be troublesome to human beings. When deer find their way on to roads, they can cause driving hazards. Then, when they find their way onto your residential property, they can wreak havoc with your plants, vegetables and grass.

Keeping deer off yards is a year-round task, one that is no less important during the fall landscaping season. When New Jersey homeowners prepare to protect delicate plantings for the winter as well as plant seeds that will sprout the following spring, the need for effective deer deterrents becomes apparent. What types of deer prevention methods are available and legal in New Jersey? Read on for some sage advice on keeping deer off yards!

Build fences that will be successful in keeping deer off yards or at least away from your plants. While a 10-foot fence will surely keep deer off your yard, not everyone wants to feel as if he or she lives inside a fortress. Other, less imposing (to the human eye, anyway) deer deterrents include fences around gardens and other areas you want to protect. These fences should stretch underground and have no open spaces bigger than six inches, because deer can crawl and slide into the smallest of gaps. Also make sure the fence completely surrounds the protected area.

Cover your treasured plants with items that have been keeping deer off yards for generations: The deer won’t want anything to do with your plants and flowers if you cover them with repellent items such as mothballs, human hair, garlic, hot sauce and fabric softener. The downside: Some of the suggested items are pretty gross for humans too, such as thorny branches, processed sewage, blood meal and—no kidding here—decaying fish heads. Fortunately, you can in fact repel deer with kindness…

Lure deer into your yard—but far away from your prized plants—with food they like: Among the items deer enjoy eating are nuts, mushrooms, apples, corn, peas and sweet potatoes. Drape these foods in areas far from where you DON’T want the deer. Deterrents disguised as kindness? Sure, why not!

Have a dog on the porch or easily visible from the backyard. Deer don’t like dogs, and vice versa. A few well-timed barks and snarls will go a long way towards keeping deer off yards forever.

Use motion sensors: Deer aren’t big fans of lights, so keep them out of your garden, flower bed and other off-limits areas by installing a motion sensor that will light up whenever a deer approaches. Of course, lights during the day won’t do anything to keep deer off the yard. So…

Use the glare of a compact disc to put a “flash” into the eyes of deer during the day. Who knew those hundreds of CDs that are now irrelevant thanks to MP3 players still had a use? Hang several CDs on a decorative homemade light catcher, and as the wind twists and turns them, the glint of the sun on their shiny surfaces will offer an effective deer prevention tool no matter which direction deer enter your property.

Keeping deer off yards is a time-consuming task but one that can be met while ensuring the safety of the humans, plants, and deer. NJ landscape design can often be challenging enough, don’t allow deer to make it even more complicated!