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Re: H. serrata, now deer

Cathy, you have my DEEPEST sympathy.  Been there; done that.  Got so
bad it was either fence or quit gardening, so I fenced.  I have 3.8
acres, but only about 2, maybe, contain gardens (or future gardens)
and the house....a fair amount is 'beyond the pale'; just wild woods.
 For quite a number of years I, too, thought my place impossible to
fence, due to the rather hilly terrain, but when push comes to shove,
you can do a lot of things you didn't think you could...Can you fence
part of your place and not all of it?  

My fence is nothing glamorous, but it works unless some major limb or
tree falls on it and mashes it down (when it's tedious but not hard
to repair).  

It's 10' tall; 7' of the heavier deer netting you can get at Home
Despot or A.M. Leonard's at the top, wired to 10' bamboo poles (I
have an unending supply of those growing away madly) which are wired
to those metal garden fence stakes (pounded into the ground) which
support chicken wire for 4' at the bottom - netting and wire overlap
and are wired together periodically.  Has logs along the outside
bottom - all 900 feet + of it - to keep the deer from rolling under
the fence.   Connected to trees where they came into play - used
those heavy duty staples.  Trees and/or posts are about 6' apart.  

One section - my starting and ending point- maybe 50' or so, is wood
board fence; been there for many years.  It's only 6' high, but
they've never jumped it, I think because of the heavy trees/brush on
the outside - they don't get a good start at it, plus they can't see
a safe landing area.

Did it all myself - very low tech and probably as cheap as you can do
one.  Took me a year to do from clearing to gates at the drive -
which I did not do.  Sprang for black chain link gates as they don't
show much - 7' tall, but on an uphill slope, so to the deer, they're
taller.  So far nobody has tried to jump the gates and they're out
there every night (I can tell by the tracks). We are getting used to
having to open and shut gates - something you must do; they have to
stay shut unless someone is going through them - because those deer
have nothing to do but patrol that fence for an opening and they will
come through one, day or night.

There's one bit that gets on my nerves and one day I shall move it
out so it's not so visible - it jogs back toward the house - but when
I started it, I didn't think I could handle this rather deep gully
area, so went around it....think I could handle even that, now, after
doing 900 feet of fence:-)

Really, you can spray, you can fling Milorganite (which worked fairly
well for me for some time) and you can try to fence off small areas
(a pain in the rear and looks awful) of individual plantings or
shrubs, but the ONLY way to really protect a garden from deer is to
surround it with a fence that is min. 8' tall - or electric (which
can be much shorter).  Sad, but true...

It has been such a pleasure to see my Azaleas bloom once more; my
poor yew hedges, which were reduced to brown sticks with green fuzz
where they topped 5' are starting to come back.  No more do I almost
dread going out each day to find some other cherished plant eaten or
stomped into the ground...plus, there are way fewer ticks in the
fenced in area.    I can plant Hostas again...oh, the joys of a deer
fence are many and the pain of doing it recedes pretty quickly:-)

Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
Editor:  Gardening in Shade
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> From: cathy carpenter <cathyc@rnet.com>
> It is time to get hints from you who are battling them - on deer 
> deterrents and plants unappetizing to those beasts. I am about to
> into serious depression. Each night they destroy my shady area a
> more...in a week, I will have nothing left. A deer fence is not an 
> option because they would simply go around it from my neighbor's 
> property. (and I have 2.5 acres.
> Cathy

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