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GardenSMART :: Capitalize on a Deer's Sense of Smell and Taste to Protect Your Gardens and Landscape

Capitalize on a Deer's Sense of Smell and Taste to Protect Your Gardens and Landscape

By Bobbex, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Bobbex, Inc.

We can all agree, deer are magnificent, stately animals, but no matter the season, we would prefer they stay out of our backyards. Deer damage to pricey perennials, attractive annuals, stunning shrubs and tremendous trees can be devastating to our backyard gardens and landscapes.

The more you know about deer the easier it is to understand their capabilities and preferences and deter them. Deer have a highly developed sense of smell; it's actually one of their best weapons for defense. In deer, more brainpower is dedicated to analyzing odors than any other brain function. Depending on which study you read, deer can smell 100 times, 1,000 times, or even 10,000 times better than the average human can. As we know, taste is influenced by the sense of smell and deer use their acute sense of smell and ability to taste to locate food sources. Deer can detect bitterness, sourness, saltiness and sweetness, just like humans. In addition, just like humans, when deer smell and taste something they dislike, they tend to avoid it.

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We know deer are herbivores and love evergreens like arborvitae and fir in the winter and English ivy, daylilies, hosta, tulips, petunias, pansies and impatiens along with a long list of other annuals and perennials, in warm weather. There are also some "deer resistant" plants - like salvia, lamb's ear, irises, and yarrow - but in winter, when the food supply is scarce, they'll eat almost anything. That's why the heaviest deer browsing is known to occur from October through February.

Odor-based repellents, especially those that taste awful, capitalize on a deer's keen sense of smell and their ability to taste. Repellents discourage deer from feeding on treated vegetation by producing an offensive odor, which repels deer. A repellent's offensive taste compounds the reasons why deer will avoid treated vegetation, adding another layer of protection to your yard and garden.

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Bobbex Deer Repellent is such a product that combines scent and taste deterrents. Testing by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station proved Bobbex is more effective than nine other commercial repellents (including coyote urine), and is rated #1 for protection against deer browse. The all-natural repellent blends six scents, including rotten eggs, garlic, fish, clove oil and vinegar (among other things) to mimic predator scents, classifying it as an effective fear repellent. It also tastes terrible to deer, but is actually good for plant development because it contains elements high in nitrogen and phosphorus.

Because Bobbex Deer also contains effective sticking agents, it won't wash off even in harsh winter weather. The product dries clear, is harmless to humans, aquatic life and pets, and won't burn even the most sensitive plants. Its odor, after 24 hours, is undetectable to humans but the smell and taste remain unpleasant to deer for up to thirty days as long as it's reapplied to any new growth.

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You can easily apply Bobbex with a simple trigger or pump spray according to label directions and repel deer from devastating your yard and gardens. Best practice is to use the product continuously throughout the entire year, since deer and their ability to devastate your yard are never out of season. Continued use will ensure protection of plants and landscapes and constantly reinforce to the deer that your backyard doesn't offer any good, tasty sustenance.

We know if left undeterred, deer can strip bare your landscape's most expensive and susceptible plantings in winter, leaving you with an unattractive yard and high repair bills when warm weather arrives. Using a repellent to deter deer can help ensure they'll learn to leave your yard alone throughout the winter, and with continued use you can keep them at bay all year long. Visit to learn more.


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