Dealing with deer. It can be very discouraging. You try one thing, then another, then another and still, they keep eating your plants. What should you do?
Well, there are many methods for controlling deer, which we've outlined here. One of those is using a deer repellent. However, when you go shopping for one, whether it's at Home Depot, other brick and mortar retailers, or online, you find a confusing selection.
We want to clear up the confusion right now. Let us tell you about the best deer repellent we've found to control these animals. We can also show you the proof, through our own case study, which you can read further down the page. You'll be amused!
What is the best deer repellent? We belive it is "Repels-All." and with good reason. We have first hand experience with this product so we can tell you the facts here as we know them.
Art holding the bottle of deer repellent
How Does Repels-All Work?
Repels-All works because it contains a "unique blend of ingredients that causes a mild irritation to animal's nasal paggages. When an animal touches, tastes or smells plants with the product sprayed on them, it triggers the natural instinct to escape..." That is taken word for word from the container.
We've found that when we're spraying it, it doesn't have a very pleasant smell to us humans either, but it's really not that bad. It definitely doesn't stink in the true sense of the word. Plus, the smell dissipates quickly.
We can tell you that it has worked for us for several years and we continue to stand by it.
What Are the Ingredients?
Interestingly, Repels-All contains the following active ingredients: whole egg solids, cloves and garlic oil. It's inactive ingredients include fish meal, fish oil, vinegar and more.
As you can tell, it's an all natural product which makes it a good repellent to use if you're environmentally conscious, as we all should be.
You can feel confident that you're not hurting the environment, including the animals themselves, when using this product.
How To Use The Product?
Repels-All comes in different forms. You can purchase it in granuals from many retails and if you do, it will need to be mixed in a sprayer which can also be purchase at all garden centers.
This adds an extra step, but it costs less that buying it in a spray bottle ready to use.
However, the spray bottle is the option we like. We buy it in the 32 oz. spray bottle so we can use it immediately without any fuss. We find that one spray bottle goes quite a ways.
To use, you simply spray the plants you want to protect, covering all sides, until the leaves are saturated.
When plants are growing fast, such as in the spring, you'll want to spray them every 7-10 days because new growth is emerging quickly and you'll want to make sure you're covering that growth with spray.
Once the growing season is well under way, cutting back to spraying once per month should be sufficient.
After the plants are sprayed it is aborbed through the pant's leaves and even down to the roots. Because of this, it won't wash off in the rain. However, you should not water your plants or apply it when rain is expected within 6 hours of application. This gives it a chance to dry and be absorbed by the plants befor being washed off.
Repels-All should not be sprayed on vegetables or other crops you'll be eating. However, the bottle says you can spray it on the ground, making a perimeter around an area. We haven't tried this first hand because we don't have a problem with animals in our vegetable gardens, so we can't verify that claim.
Is It A Deterrent For Other Animals?
Yes, it's not called repels deer - it's called repels-all for a reason. The product will deter many other animals, including rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, groundhogs, skunks and raccoons.
One important note. It also repels birds, so applying it to your bird feeders to deter squirrels from devouring your bird seed is not a good idea.
We have a case study on this very thing below. You'll get some entertainment from our experience with one particular robin in the case study...
Repels-All Case Study
Just one week ago before writing this article, we had a problem with a robin building a nest in a location that just wouldn't do at all. Normally we let birds build where they want and make their mess, even if it's under our front porch roof.
We love watching the natural procreation process unfold before us. Very entertaining!
However, this robin wanted her nest on top of an outdoor halogen light that gets very hot. We knew we couldn't allow it.
This has been happening for the last few years and every year, we remove the nest and put landscape spikes up to discourage her. It doesn't work.
Last week, when it started happening again, we decided to spray Repels-All on the light after we removed the nest.
We looked out the window and sure enough, there was the robin with some nest building material in her beak. We watched as she flew up to the light, then immediately flew back down. She then did it again, flew up, then back down.
This happened several times until she finally flew away - and she has not been back to build that nest since! Success!
We found this to be a perfect, first hand example of Repels-All working as it's advertised.
The Downfalls Of Using Any Spray Deer Repellent
One of the biggest downfalls we've experienced with this product, which would happen with any deer repellent spray, is the fact that if you forget to spray, the plants will lose their protection.
It's been our experience (and our clients as well) that if and when we see deer damage, and we think back when we sprayed last, it always comes back to forgetting to spray the plants in a timely manner, at the intervals recommended by the product.
We always tell our clients to think of the 1st of the month as the "plant spraying" day - every single month. It can then turn into more of a habit so it's not forgotten.
Our Final Decision On Using The Best Deer Repellent
Is Repels-All the best deer repellent? Although we've only tested one other spray, "Deer Off Spray," which is no longer available, our experience with this product has been very positive.
We give it 4 dandelions instead of 5 because even though we believe it's working to deter deer and we do see less plant damage, there's really no way to know for sure because deer usually feed at night and we've never been awake to see them in action.
Somday, maybe night cameras. Wouldn't that be interesting?