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Uninvited Deer and Rabbits Eating Your Plants

Our July blog will cover some of the options available if you have uninvited guests eating your plants. Rabbits and deer can be a big problem for people and their yards in Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico. Whether you live close to the mountains or in one of our more arid landscapes, you are likely to encounter one of these hungry guests at some point during the year. There are a handful of options you can use as a deterrent which will not harm the animals, the environment, or humans, and can also help to keep your yard looking beautiful.

The cheapest and easiest option is to try one of the many different types of repellent sprays. These sprays can be purchased at any of the local nurseries and can easily be applied by you (or by Desert Rose, if you would like!). But be warned, these sprays can smell terrible! A few notable (but effective) ingredients can include coyote urine (to make the animals think there is a coyote in the area) or a mix of putrefied eggs, sulfur, garlic, cayenne peppers and mint oil (to make the plants taste terrible). The sprays need to be re-applied after it rains and every couple weeks. It doesn’t work 100% of the time, but it can help deter animals to protect your plants.

The next option is to build custom rabbit/deer cages to go over the plants the animals prefer to eat. Desert Rose offers this service and the price varies on the size of the plant. Once the cage is made, it is staked down to prevent it from being knocked over by the smarter wildlife. The cage completely protects your plants and does not harm any animals who may approach, however, the downside to this option is they can be an eyesore. The good thing is later in the year, the cages can be removed once the new, tender growth that the animals prefer becomes mature vegetation - just be sure you have somewhere to store the cages (when not in use) if you choose to go this route!

The last option is to consider replacing some of your plants that animals have a preference for with plants that are deer and rabbit resistant. Although we have seen deer and rabbits eat these plants during times of drought, these plants are not as susceptible as others to these animals. Examples of these plants are: Salvia, Vinca, Verbena, Yarrow, Agastache, Spireas, Lavenders, and Geraniums.

As a side note: we have had one client who was having major rabbit issues in Eldorado who decided to leave a bowl of fresh greens every couple days about 100 feet from his garden as a peace offering for the rabbits. He said he doesn’t have the issue of rabbits in his yard anymore, so maybe he is onto something!

If you are having issues with deer and rabbits eating your landscape, give Desert Rose a call and we can see which of these options may be best for you. Since we are dealing with wildlife, no one can guarantee that this problem can be stopped, but we promise that we will try our best!

Happy July from Desert Rose!

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