How To Stop Deer From Eating Tulips & Other Plants In Your Garden

Tulips are one of the favorite flowers that deer love to eat in the springtime. Have you ever walked out in your spring flower garden to find the beautiful tulips that you had enjoyed so much the day before, completely mowed to the ground, leaves and all? Many who have experienced this for the first have asked, what has happened to my beautiful tulips? Before you blame it on your neighbors children, you may want to look closely in the soil for footprints indicating that Bambi has visited, your gourmet flower garden has eaten, and left without even saying thank you. Now the question is, how do I stop this from happening again?

Deer repellent spray is a very effective way to stop deer from eating tulips.

Using a deer repellent spray to stop deer from eating tulips is something you can use that does not detract from the look of your flower garden. Once sprayed on the flowers there is almost no change to the look of the flowers. When you first spray on the repellent, it will have quite a strong smell, but after the repellent dries, it is hardly noticeable to humans, but to deer who have a keen sense of smell, they don’t care for it and will stay away. Deer repellent must be reapplied regularly to be most effective, for best results, I recommend respraying every other week. You can go longer between applications, but the longer you go the greater your chance of receiving damage from deer.

Is homemade deer repellent as effective at keeping deer away as
store-bought repellent?

I have purchased and used deer repellent and had success using it, however, I found that most store-bought repellents only have about 1.5% of active ingredients to keep deer away. For the last sixteen-plus years, I have been making and using my own homemade deer repellent spray, and I have been successful in stopping deer from eating my plants and trees. The repellent I spray on my plants is about 6% active ingredient which I have found to deter deer quite well. I share in another blog a simple homemade deer repellent recipe, that is easy to make and use. Deer repellent is not guaranteed to keep deer totally away, they will still occasionally come by to check things out, and they may even take a bite or two, but they will not stick around and browse heavily on your plants, especially if you have a taste deterrent like hot sauce in the repellent.

A doe mule deer eating dianthus flowers in a flower garden

A motion-activated sprinkler is another effective way to keep deer out of your flower garden.

Deer don’t like water being shot at them, so a motion sensor sprinkler works to keep deer from eating tulips and other garden plants. You must have a water tap close by, and a hose stretched to each of these devices, and as long as the motion sensor works properly, this will deter deer from entering your garden. If you forget to turn the sprinkler off before entering your garden, you too will get a shot of water, and in like manner, if you forget to turn the water back on after working in your garden, your plants will be left unprotected and your garden plants may be gobbled up by deer in just one night. As has happened to people I know. 

Motion activated sprinkler in a rose garden

Fencing or netting is the most effective way to stop deer browsing, but is also least attractive.

If installed properly, fencing will keep deer from eating tulips and other plants in your garden, but a yard full of fenced plants is not always the most attractive look. Fencing can also get quite pricey initially, and will need adjusting as the plants grow, or if other work needs to be done around them.

Trees, bushes and shrubs in a yard surrounded by protective deer fencing


There are many different options to choose from to deter deer from eating your tulips and other garden plants, find what works best and use it to stop deer browsing. If this sounds like more work than you care to do on your own, there are deer repellent spray service companies that will provide this service for you.

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