“Do deer eat geraniums?’‘ is a question that you may be asking because your geranium plants may be severely damaged but you are yet to find the cause or the responsible culprit.
A deer attack can be the cause, as deer love the leaves and flowers of geraniums. To learn how to stop them from attacking your plants, read this article.
- Do Deer Eat Geraniums?
- How Can You Be Sure That Deer Are Eating Your Geraniums?
- How Can You Stop Deer From Reaching Your Geraniums?
- – Scare the Deer Away
- – Use Deer Repellents
- – Install a Fence
- – Cover Your Geranium Plants
- – Remove Bird Feeders From Your Yard
- – Clear Your Yard of Food Waste
- – Use Motion-activated Sprinklers
- – Grow Deer-resistant Geranium Plants
- – Grow the Geraniums Far From Plants That Attract Deer
- – Grow The Geraniums Near Plants That Repel Deer
- How Do You Treat Your Geraniums After a Deer Attack?
Do Deer Eat Geraniums?
Deer eat geraniums, especially in the cold winter months due to scarcity of food. Geraniums are classified as “occasionally damaged by deer” on a scale rating from “rarely damaged” to “frequently severely damaged.” The geranium endressii variety is the most frequently damaged geranium plant by deer.
Geranium plants have sweet and edible leaves as well as moisture-filled flowers. This makes them an attractive target for deer and other pests. Well, deer may not notice your geraniums at first because of the other plants in your vegetable patch. However, deer will most likely come for more geraniums when they have had a taste of one geranium plant.
Deer will destroy your geraniums if you give them the chance. This is why you must stop them while you can.
How Can You Be Sure That Deer Are Eating Your Geraniums?
You can be sure that deer are eating your geraniums when you see the deer in action (eating your plants), you see evidence of a deer presence, or of a deer attack on the geraniums. Deer are usually sneaky pests, but you can find clues about their attack.
– You Caught the Deer in Action
The first and most reliable way to tell that deer are eating your geraniums is to see them when they are doing so. Deer eat geraniums, but you can’t be so sure that the damage to your plants has been caused by deer.
If you do not know the exact cause of the damage, you may not easily fix the problem because it might happen again.
Deer usually visit gardens at night so that they can eat your plants and leave the garden without your knowledge or getting caught. This means that you may want to check the plants at night or early in the morning if you want to see the deer.
When you see deer in your garden, try to figure out where they came from. You can scare them away and try to see where they run in order to see.
– You See Evidence of Deer Presence
Even though you do not see the deer in your garden, you can tell that deer are responsible for the damage to your geranium plants:
- Deer poop: Deer poop is similar to that of goats; it is round, black or brown, and can be made of a cluster of many balls. The location of the poop can signify the plants that deer attack the most.
- Deer footprint: Deer footprint looks a lot like the shape of a split inverted heart. Note that deer have two hooves.
- Fur: You may see the fur on the leaves of your plants. This can tell you where the deer walked through in your garden.
– You Notice Deer Bite Marks on Your Geranium Plants
Deer damage is usually unlike the damage caused by other pests. This is because deer is one of the largest pests that can attack your plants. Deer damage will surely show in the leaves, petioles, and stems of your geranium plants.
The plant, especially its higher leaves, will suffer from a deer attack and the entire upper region might be missing.
Deer have jaws that are strong enough to pull leaves and stems from your geraniums, so the more leaves are missing, the higher the chance that deer were involved. Other pests will most likely leave their bite marks on the leaves, but deer will pull the leaves off altogether.
How Can You Stop Deer From Reaching Your Geraniums?
You can stop deer from reaching your geraniums by scaring them away, removing what attracts them to your garden, planting crops that deer hate, and using repellents. You need to prevent deer from the plants if you want the plants to be safe.
– Scare the Deer Away
The first thing that you should do immediately after seeing deer eating geraniums or other plants in your garden is to scare them away. Always scare deer from your garden so that they do not enter again.
Never leave deer in your garden, even when there are very few plants in it because the more they enter the garden, the higher the chance that they will return.
While scaring the deer away, continue to look at them so that you can tell where they ran to. Where they run to could be where they came from, so you must find ways to prevent deer and other pests from entering your garden through that spot.
– Use Deer Repellents
These products will help repel deer from your garden. Here are some deer-repellent ideas:
- Rotten eggs: Rotten edges have a pungent smell that even deer cannot avoid. Use them at night on plants that deer attack.
- Garlic: Deer hate garlic, so you can spray a garlic solution (garlic powder and water) on the leaves of your geraniums.
- Hot sauce: Hot sauce can burn the tongue of deer, so they will avoid plants with it.
- Soap: Soap makes the leaves of plants undesirable for deer, so you can spray soapy water on your geraniums.
- Dog fur and urine: Deer are afraid of dogs, so spraying dog fur and urine on the garden can repel them.
– Install a Fence
You want to make sure that there is a fence in your garden. The fence should be tall enough to prevent deer from jumping into the garden. The fence should also be as close to the ground as possible to prevent the fawn from entering the garden through the ground. Ensure that you start fencing the garden from the spot where the deer ran to.
If you want to use an electric fence in your garden, ensure that you should use one with currents above 4,000 volts. You can also use a plan wire mesh or wooden fence to deter deer from the garden.
– Cover Your Geranium Plants
Even though you do not want to build a fence in your garden yet, you can keep your geraniums safe by covering them. As you can see, you can keep your geraniums safe without spending a lot of money.
Methods to help the plants:
- Using a wire mesh: You can build a wire mesh cage around the plants to keep them safe from deer. You may choose to leave the cage, as it permits sunlight to reach the plants.
- Using a tarp or a fabric: At night, you can cover your geraniums with a fabric or tarp so that pests do not reach the plants. Remove the covering in the morning so that the plants can get enough sunlight.
– Remove Bird Feeders From Your Yard
Bird feeders are good, as they show that you care for birds and nature. However, they can be harmful to your garden plants, as they attract every type of pest into your garden, including deer. This is why, even though you must have bird feeders, you should keep them far from your garden.
Never allow deer to enter your garden and even if you want to feed them, do not feed them in the garden. You can even use the bird feeder to keep deer out of your garden by keeping them some distance away from the garden. Keep grains, pellets, and other types of animal feed far from the garden.
– Clear Your Yard of Food Waste
Just like bird feeders, food waste attracts a lot of pests into your garden. Food waste such as fruit peels, kitchen scraps, leftover vegetables, and other others are exactly what deer are looking for, so you want to keep them out. If you use food waste in your compost pile, it would help if you keep the pile far from your garden or make use of a compost bin.
Even if you must keep food waste in your garden, ensure that the garden is well-fenced so that large pests such as deer cannot enter the garden.
– Use Motion-activated Sprinklers
You can install motion-activated sprinklers in your garden. These sprinklers try to detect the movement of intruders such as deer and other pests in your garden and then deter them with a water spray. Deer are afraid of such sprinklers, so it will repel them.
The spot towards which the water was sprayed can tell you where the deer are coming from. Try to find out how the deer can enter your garden in that direction. Ensure that the sprinkler is connected to a running tap with enough water so that it can spray the deer when you are not watching.
– Grow Deer-resistant Geranium Plants
Before choosing the variety of geranium plants that you should grow, you need to consider certain factors such as their chance of resisting deer. The variety Geranium macrorrhizum is the most deer-resistant variety. The variety of geraniums deer do not like to eat are few, but are as beautiful as other varieties.
If you have a deer-resistant geranium variety, you can grow it around the edges of your garden without fear, as you know that it will most likely be safe from a severe deer attack. Note that no geranium variety is deer-proof, so deer will always have a taste of the plants no matter which variety you are growing.
– Grow the Geraniums Far From Plants That Attract Deer
Some plants attract deer into your garden. While you can grow these plants in your garden, you need to keep them far away from the edges of the garden or spots where deer can easily find them. Grow these plants nearer to the center of your garden.
Examples of these plants:
- Hostas: Like some other ornamental plants, deer love the smell and taste of hostas.
- Strawberries: Strawberry leaves and fruits are very desirable for deer, as they are so sweet.
- Tulips: Deer can eat almost every part of the tulip plant. Keep it far from the garden edge.
- Leafy greens: Deer love every type of leafy green, as the leaves are sweet and nutritious.
– Grow The Geraniums Near Plants That Repel Deer
Deer do not like every plant in your garden, so you can repel them when you grow the plants in your garden.
Here are some plants that repel deer from gardens:
- Daffodils: These plants are toxic to deer, so deer learn to avoid them.
- Foxglove: Deer hate this plant due to its toxicity, as it can make them sick and their mouth painful.
- Lamb’s ear: The texture of the leaves of this plant makes it undesirable for deer. The leaves are coated with velvety and rough hairs, so deer usually avoid them.
- Sage: Sages have a strong scent that can repel a lot of pests.
- Mint: Mint is a common pest repellent due to its scent.
- Lavender: This plant is suitable to be your edge plant due to its color, shape, and scent.
These deer resistant plants are easy to grow. Grow them on the garden edges so that deer will no longer enter the garden.
How Do You Treat Your Geraniums After a Deer Attack?
After a deer attack, you can treat your geraniums by pruning off damaged parts of the plants, growing your geraniums in the right growing conditions, and propagating them just in case they are not responsive.
Most geraniums will survive a deer attack; you just need to know how to help them.
– Preventing the Deer From Reaching the Plants
The first thing that you must do is to stop the deer from reaching your geranium plants again. If the deer gets to your geraniums again, the geraniums may not survive the next attack, as they may be too damaged. Block every means through which deer can reach your geranium plants.
– Prune off the Damaged Leaves and Stems
A deer attack will make your plants ugly and sick. The plants will also waste a lot of water, nutrients, and energy as they will continue to send them to damaged leaves. To help save nutrients, you should prune off every damaged part of your geraniums. Pruning the plants will also make them beautiful once more.
You must use sterilized or clean tools to prune the geraniums so that you do not expose the plants to more diseases from dirty tools. Look for every yellow leaf or leaves that will most likely fall off the plant and prune them off.
– Remove Unresponsive Plants
Well, not every geranium plant will survive a deer attack, as some may be too damaged to recover. If this is the case for some of your plants, you should remove them from your garden.
Leaving the plants in the garden can be wasteful, as they will continue to collect nutrients and moisture from the soil. They will also spoil the look of your garden.
Uproot the dying geraniums. If you like, you can plant them somewhere else to see if they will recover or not. However, for the sake of your other plants, remove the dying ones.
– Propagate the Geraniums
Even though your geranium plants are dying, you can try to save them by propagating their cuttings. This is a great choice, especially if you do not have many geraniums in your garden and most of them were attacked by deer.
Propagate them so that whether they recover or not, you can be sure of having geraniums in the future.
You can propagate geranium plants with their stem cutting. Look for a mature cutting that is 6 inches tall at least and plant it in an ideal substrate. Water the cutting regularly until you see a sign of leaf growth.
Deer do eat geranium plants, but you can stop that from happening by using the tips in this article.
Here is what you should remember:
- You can tell that deer are attacking your plants when you see deer poop, fur, or footprints in your garden.
- Use a fence or try to repel deer away from your garden so that they no longer attack your geranium plants.
- While you can help your sick geraniums to recover from a deer attack, propagate them so that you can be sure of having more plants in the future.
- Do not plant your geraniums near your garden edges, as they can attract deer and other pests into the garden.
- You should plant deer-resistant plants on your garden edges so that deer will not enter the garden.
As you can see, both your geraniums and other plants in your garden can be free from a deer attack.
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