Thursday, March 10, 2011
Why deer come to your yard
I can hear you from where I sit. "Well, duh, they're hungry!" It's just not that simple.
Every gardener should know why deer will come to our cultivated gardens for meal time risking life and limb for it. They could, after all, just head into the forest for harassment-free meals. Some will tell you it is because there is no more food to be had in the woods. This is rarely the case, forest fires and other devastating conditions, notwithstanding of course.
Deer would be content with what they could forage in the forests but we are inadvertently luring them into our yards. How? The deer, just like we do, love our bright green gardens, the deep green being the clue to us. Deer need the Chlorophyl within plants --that which makes plants green-- as part of their diet. They crave the stuff. They know instinctively that the greener the plant, the more nutritious it is for them. They ain't stupid you know!
You can say they can find loads of green stuff to eat in the woods. This is true, but the thing is, Mother Nature doesn't care for her plants nearly as diligently as we gardeners do. Mother Nature doesn't continually clip bushes to make them bushy and she doesn't fertilize trees and plants as much either. Gardeners tend to feed their plants which make them grow more tender, greener and more in general. This is appealing to us and gosh-darn-it, it's also appealing to deer.
Very rapid growing shoots tend to be soft and tender and deer love tender shoots. The bright green vegetation is the ultimate turn-on for deer--for many critters, if truth be told. So, it is like ringing a dinner bell when the gardener sets about to make their landscape vibrant green and lush with tender plants full to the brim with chlorophyl.
Well, there's truly nothing to be done about this. We want our gardens green and the deer want to eat it. Surely there is a compromise we can reach. I found mine. I let them trim my hedges for me. Of course, the field fence we placed around our most valuable gardens is the true compromise. We started with 8 foot high fencing all around the perimeter of our oddly shaped property, but soon found them to be a joke. If deer want to get in, they find a way. But I found that if you give them a nice taste they won't jump fences to get to more delicate things, things you desperately want to save from them....like my Hosta!
Remind me sometime to tell you about Hosta--aka: deer chocolate.