Living in the Florida countryside is a dream come true for many Americans. But the ability to enjoy the local wildlife puttering around on your property also means that your yard and gardens will become easy prey for those same animals. Deer are the most common wildlife intruders in most rural areas - including much of the Sunshine State.
So, how can you deter the deer while still being a good steward of the land and its inhabitants? Here's a short guide to four good deer fences and deterrents good for any type of property.
Deer are good jumpers, so many new homeowners are dismayed to discover that installing a standard size fence will not result in keeping out pesky grazers. For any deer fence to even begin being effective, you'll need to install a fence that's at least eight feet high. It's a good idea to also make it difficult to see through, since deer are much less likely to enter an area if they can't see the potential dangers ahead.
If you already have a fence installed on your property or don't want to invest in a full, solid eight foot fence, you may be able to retrofit an addition to the height by stringing large wire strands on the top. Make the strands more visible to approaching deer by hanging streamers or using brightly colored wire so the deer know they're there.
If you're not inclined to want an eight foot tall fence blocking your views of the gorgeous Florida back country, you could change tactics and install two fences. Deer may be able to jump high, but this means they sacrifice width. Installing a semi-tall fence (even as low at four or five feet) with a second one about five feet inside it can deter intruders. This takes advantage of deer's natural fear of unseen dangers and their inability to get a second running start for a new jump.
As with adding height to existing fences, add small streamers or use bright wire colors to let the deer know that there's a second fence waiting behind the first. Confusing their view is a key to this strategy.
Electric fencing is a good option for some homeowners but not for others. It's best for areas with low deer populations that intrude infrequently and may not be good if you have pets, livestock, or kids. You can use a single strand placed about three feet from the ground and using posts about five feet apart. Mark the strands so the deer see them.
If you want to teach the deer to stay away, you may want to put some peanut butter on aluminum foil and place it on the strands. Once the deer get a touch of the electric fence, they'll probably stay pretty far away.
Since deer are smart and sneaky, it's a good idea to complement your deer fence with a few natural deterrents as well. Start by making sure you build your fence before you plant a garden, if possible. This way, deer won't first learn that your veggies are tasty.
There are also a variety of invisible repellents, including ultrasonic devices, plant sprays, and motion activated water sprayers that are harmless but annoying to deer.
If you need help finding the right deer fence strategy or solving problems with a specific part of your fence or yard, the experts at Mid-State Fence are here to help. With 23 years' experience finding fence solutions for every homeowner, they can help you protect your garden and the wildlife of Central Florida.