Friday, July 31st, 2009...12:00 am

Liquid Fence: A Good Deer and Rabbit Repellent for your Roses

”]Cropping the Roses by Beyond the Trail [Gary]TheGardenLady received this question from Bonnie.

We planted a knock-out rose bush this past spring. It started blooming and had beautiful roses. We noticed that the stems were cut. The deer are eating them. What can we do?

Deer love roses. It seems strange because there are thorns. In spite of the thorns, I guess deer like plants that humans eat. Rose petals  and rose hips  and  are eaten by humans.  See here, here and here.

I spray my roses and other plants that deer love with a product called Liquid Fence.  I have been using the product for a few years and my plants are not eaten by deer or rabbits. I think it is pricey because I use it much more frequently than recommended on the container. I have used it even more frequently this summer because of all the rain. Even though the product label says it lasts through rain, I am fearful of losing the plants. Because some some plants are deer resistant, I do not spray all the flowers I have. But I have learned that some plants that I wouldn’t think deer would eat, like sunflowers, will be eaten by the deer if I don’t spray. Liquid Fence stinks like the rotten eggs that is the major ingredient. That dissipates fairly quickly for the human nose; but the smell lingers for the more sensitive nose of the deer. The one thing that I dislike is that the leaves retain a white film from the spray. However, it washes off in the rain.

Some of the plants that I spray, besides the roses which deer adore, are the hostas, the lilies both the daylilies and other lilies, impatiens, sedums, weigela, baby trees, as well as any plant I want to rest assured the deer or rabbits won’t eat. There are deer resistant plants, however when deer are hungry, they will eat anything.

Because I fear that the deer will get used to the smell of Liquid Fence, I will spray Deer Off or other deer repellents that I find in the stores or friends might tell me about in between the times I spray Liquid Fence.

There are some home recipes one can try:

One recipe calls for blending 2 cups of water, 2 cups of nonfat milk, 2 eggs (with shells), 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper, 2 cloves garlic and a couple of drops of Murphy’s oil Soap or other oily dish detergent. Sprinkle (or strain and spray) over plants.

A second concoction calls for 1 teaspoons of tabasco sauce or red hot pepper sauce, 2 tablespoons garlic powder, 2 Tablespoons Murphy’s Oil soap mixed in 1 gallon of water. The friend who used this reciped added 1 egg.

A third mixture calls for 4 eggs, 2 oz. red pepper sauce, 2 oz. garlic powder mixed in one quart of water.

Another recipe uses one whole egg, one cup of milk (skim or regular), a few tablespoons of cooking oil and one tablespoon of liquid soap with one quart of water. Add one teaspoon of hot chili oil and blend it in your blender on low. Put in spray bottle and use once a week.

There are many recipes that are variants of the above or you can create your own that is a variation. A list of other recipes are here.

Remember that there are mechanical devices that are used to repel deer. If you can fence in your property, use 8 ft fences.

One friend uses a motion sensor device that sprays the deer with water when they come near. This startles the deer so that they run arway. But you need a number of these sensor devices to cover a large area.

TheGardenLady thinks that mechanical devices are really expensive. I stick with the cheaper alternative of the sprays that have been effective in keeping the deer and rabbits from eating the plants.

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  • Hi,
    My gardening niche is “with deer” and I keep my KO roses behind the cottage garden fence. Although I don’t use deer repellent in my large deer resistant gardens, I do have to use rabbit repellent on rudbeckia. I like the brand I MUST GARDEN and they also make a deer repellent. The IMG product doesn’t stink and it really holds up well. Inside my fence (where the bunnies can sneak inside) I use it on phlox, zinnias, asters and scabiosa without any problems.


  • The Garden Lady
    July 31st, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Thank you for the nice comment. TheGardenLady has never seen the brand I Must Garden. I Googled it and found that they compare themselves to Liquid Fence without the stench and that it is all natural, no harsh chemicals. They have other products, against voles and geese, that if effective are good to know about. Thank you for sharing this information with TheGardenLady and her readers.

  • Hey – interesting article. You are correct in saying that deer will eat practically anything (even those plants which they supposedly don’t like). You are also correct in pointing out the weakness of sprays and “liquid” fences. Rain simply washes them away. There is no substitute, when it comes to deer control, for a sturdy fence. One can buy a fence that ISN’T an eyesore – I’d suggest anyone reading this who has problems with deer control should check out Benner’s Gardens ( Aside from products, which are great, there is a wealth of free information. Readers of thegardenlady might find the site very useful. Just my two cents.

  • I agree – we professionally install deer fence for perimeter enclosures and also garden fencing for small garden enclosures. Deer repellent, although attractive cost wise and is easy to use, really doesn’t work. Most customers end up with some type of deer fencing. Kits for self installation are fairly inexpensive as well,
    we also have a wealth of information free on the website. thanks

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