Top 7 Tips to Keep Deer Away From Your Shrubs

Shrubs can be something that helps to beautify your garden and the rest of your yard.

And those who have them usually spend some time each year pruning them and making them look nice.

So, it can be hard when a deer comes around and begins to eat away at your shrubs.

Some ways to keep deer away from your shrubs include wrapping your shrubs in burlap, setting up fencing, removing deer food sources, adding deer repellent, planting deer-resistant plants, placing bar soap and human hair near shrubs, and adding a motion sensor.

Read on to find which tips might be able to stand on their own, and which ones might need to be coupled with other tips.

Wrap your shrubs in burlap

One of the best things you can do to protect your shrubs from deer is by putting a cover around your shrubs.

Burlap is the perfect choice to use to surround your shrub.

Not only will it protect your shrubs from deer, but it will also keep the shrub warm and protect it from the wind and cold.

So covering your shrubs with burlap with help protect your shrubs in multiple ways.

You can purchase some burlap from Amazon here.

When you get the burlap, wrap it around your shrub and cut where necessary.

You may have to do this multiple times, moving higher up on the shrub each time.

The burlap may come with thread, but if it does not, make sure to purchase some twine to wrap around the burlap and tie it up against the shrub.

Deer will not be able to chew through the burlap, so you can save your shrubs with this option alone.

Set up fencing

Male deer are known for rubbing their antlers up against trees and shrubs.

So if they can get close enough, they are going to cause some trouble for your plants.

Setting up some fencing around your trees and shrubs will help to save them from deer.

Keep in mind, though, that deer can jump upwards of 8 feet, so you can find yourself spending quite a bit of money to put up a fence to keep deer out.

You may want to consult with a professional if you decide to go with the fencing option.

If you decide to go with this option and can purchase a 8 foot tall fence, you probably will not need any of the other options.

Remove deer food sources

If you are worried about your shrubs, make sure they are not producing or are surrounded by other shrubs or plants that the deer might see as a food source.

According to Mississippi State University:

Diet selection changes in response to seasonal changes in forage abundance, quality, and metabolic needs of the animal. Deer eat a variety of food types, including browse (leafy parts of woody plants), forbs (herbaceous broad-leaved plants, including agricultural crops), hard and soft mast (seeds), grass and mushrooms/lichens.

Throughout the range of white-tailed deer, greater than 85 % of their overall diet consists of browse, forbs, and mast.

Deer can eat a wide variety of vegetation, especially since that vegetation can be rather limited during the winter season.

On the flip side, it can be hard to determine for you which vegetation you should not plant.

Each year, determine from your shrubs which one’s deer have and have not been eating.

Then remove anything they have been eating and replace it with something they have not been eating.

Also, keep in mind any feeders you might have around your yard for squirrels or birds.

Deer like to eat what you typically give to birds in bird feeders, which is a bird feeder mix.

Replace the bird feeder mix with something more suitable for just birds, which includes thistle seeds and suet cakes.

This is a good option, though it might not be enough to stand on its own on keeping the deer away.

Add deer repellent

Deer repellent should do just what it says: repel deer.

You have a few options with deer repellent.

First, is the hangable pouch, which you put on or near the shrubs you want to protect.

These pouches are long-lasting and give off a pleasant scent, and they repel the deer away from the area in which they are hanging.

They are also not made with any harmful chemicals.

Second, you have the spray option, which you will take around the yard and spray all the areas you want to keep the deer away from.

This option should last 5 to 9 weeks and will not give off a foul smell.

Whatever you choose, they should be able to repel deer for a certain period of time.

They may not repel your deer for the whole winter season, so you may need to do a second round of repellent halfway through the winter to make sure that your shrubs are left alone.

But assuming these options work as well as they say they do, you might not have to apply any other options.

Plant deer-resistant plants

Deer will eat almost anything, but there are some plants that they will try to stay away from.

These plants typically include prickly or fuzzy foliage.

A list of these plants, though not a full list, include the following:

  • Mock orange
  • Bottlebrush buckeye
  • Lilac
  • Winter daphne
  • Viburnum
  • Bluebeard
  • Butterfly bush
  • Witch hazel
  • Eastern sweetshrub
  • Foxglove
  • Rosemary
  • Fountain grass

These plants can be used as a border or can be planted right along with your shrubs.

Either way, they will serve as a deterrent to deer, since they will try to eat these plants, but turn away from them.

It may take a few winters experimenting with different plants to make sure you get the right mix to deter the deer.

But once you find the right mix, you should be good with repelling the deer.

Place bar soap and human hair near the shrubs

Deer are sensitive to scents.

The concept behind using bar soap and human hair is the scents they give off.

Pick a bar soap that is very fragrant and attach it to some rope and hang it from trees around your yard, or attach it to a stake and put the stake into the ground.

Keep in mind that since this is bar soap, any rain, wind, or snow is going to wear it down and make the bar soap not last as long as other options.

For human hair, when you go to a barber or cut your hair at home, gather up the hair that falls to the ground.

Scatter the hair around your garden and shrubs and the scent should hopefully be enough to ward off any deer.

You can also put the hair in pantyhose and hang them from any surrounding trees.

Add a motion sensor

For anyone that has come across a deer while driving at night, you know how deer feel when you shine bright lights at them.

The same holds true in your yard.

A motion sensor will turn on a light when a deer comes into the area and should scare the deer away from your shrubs.

Of course, this will only work at night, so if you are having problems with deer during the day, one of the other options should help.


If you are trying to keep deer away from your shrubs, you have many different options.

One option on its own may not be enough to keep the deer away, so pick a few options and see which ones work the best.

Keep trying until you finally found one or two that work well for you.

Bill Lantz

Bill Lantz is a database analyst by day and a weekend warrior by... weekend. He's currently building up his own miniature homestead in Central Utah with his wife and six kids. Some of his interests include knowing random trivia about films, reading history books, and playing video games with the boys.

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