Keeping deer out of the garden

On a visit this summer to Earth Bound Gardens in the Bruce Peninsula I discovered their very effective way of keeping deer out of the garden, particularly their hosta and lily glade.

These were being regularly eaten down to nubs until they used this simple trick. Their hosta bed is in a clearing, surrounded on all sides by trees. On one end is a wild wooded area from whence the deer approach, while the other sides are flanked by their planted show gardens.

Earth Bound’s solution was to wind thin nylon twine at about chest height around the trees surrounding the hosta glade. The twine is tied to certain trees, then friction holds the rest of the twine in place as it threads through the glade.

The deer don’t like to jump over the twine. Because they can’t see it, when they bump into it, it scares them away. Since doing this, their hostas and rare lilies have been unscathed. The other benefit is that the twine is elegant and inoffensive looking; hardly noticeable really. They had tried several thicknesses, starting with fishing line and finally using a thicker gauge around most of their trees.

Deer can be a pest (or a pleasure) in the garden, even in Toronto. If your garden has no trees handy to attach the twine to, you could adapt this method by using poles. It’s a simple and inexpensive trick to try before resorting to more drastic measures.


  1. Very interesting idea. Must confess, my heart always sinks a little when I meet with a new client and they lead off by telling me about their deer problem. I'll keep this little trick in mind.

  2. Has anyone tried (human) hair clippings? Harvested from your friendly, mystified hairdresser. Apparently it keeps our buck out of wildlife friendly South African vineyards.

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