Deer may be wonderful to watch out in the yard, but once they start feasting on your shrubs and plants, those lovely creatures can become downright pests. Replacing plants and shrubs is costly, too. If your yard is providing a smorgasbord for every deer in the neighborhood, you need to get to work with a repellent…and fast! Short of fencing, which can be ugly, or covering your plants with netting, which is both a hassle and not very attractive, repellents are the easiest way to go. Basically, you have two choices: spray-on repellents or electronic motion detectors that activate to scare deer away in a variety of ways. Here’s how to choose the best deer-repellent solution for your yard.

Chemical Repellents

Unlike some sprays that may have a strong smell when first applied, this repellent has a fresh, minty scent that won’t wash off to keep your plants protected longer. Amazon

Deer have one of the most sensitive noses in the animal kingdom and certain smells, like rotten eggs or fish (used in some repellents) or mint (used in others) are scents they don’t like. They also don’t like the taste of certain natural ingredients, like cayenne pepper, either. Look for repellents that contain these kinds of ingredients. You may not like the smell when you apply them, but deer won’t either. Repellents come in spray, granular or powder versions, but spray-ons go directly on the leaves that deer find so tasty, so they will work instantly to begin deterring deer. Look for repellents that will work year-round as deer will grow hungrier as winter progresses and natural food sources become scarcer. Apply weekly to start then every few weeks thereafter.

Motion Devices

When triggered, this motion device emits 120 dB alarm sounds, ultrasound, and a flashing light to scare deer away. A built-in solar panel keeps batteries recharged. Amazon

Motion-sensor devices are also good options to consider. Some are designed to work with a sprinkler to give deer a surprise shot of water, which will scare them off. These might be a good option for summer, but other devices that either emit a loud noise or ultra-sonic noise when their sensors are tripped provide better year-round protection. Devices that emit a loud noise work, but they may scare your neighbors or guests. Ultra-sonic models are a good choice because the noise they emit is too high for humans to hear, but deer hate it.

Double Down

This repellent contains meat meal, fish meal, and fish oil that creates both a smell and taste deterrent to keep deer away from plants. Fish oil prevents the spray from washing off for long-lasting protection. Amazon

Believe it or not, deer can get very accustomed to repellents of any type, which is why stationary scare crows, coyote silhouettes and the like will not provide long-term solutions. If you’re using a spray, alternate with different types every few weeks, so deer don’t get used to the smell or taste. If your deer problem is really bad, you may want to consider using both a motion device and sprays. If you save just one of your nice shrubs you’ll more than cover the costs of providing two types of deterrents in your yard.