Deer – Keeping Out Of Beds

Q: I want to have a huge raised bed vegetable garden this year but I wonder about deer in the woods behind us. Can I put a chicken wire fence around the plot to keep the critters out? How high should the chicken wire be?

A: Unless you have hordes of deer, they won’t push through chicken wire but they will try to jump it. Experts recommend a height of eight feet. Some say that slanting the fence outward makes deer even more hesitant to leap. If you can’t manage a high fence, try building two four-foot high fences four feet apart circling the garden. Deer don’t like seeing something that will tangle their feet when they land inside the first fence.

One garden friend had excellent success against deer by laying six-foot wide chicken wire onto the ground, but supported every few feet by bricks. He reported that deer do not like stepping onto surfaces, like chicken wire on bricks, that would “give” beneath their feet. Use a string trimmer to mow weeds that grow through the wire. He had a garden of corn, beans and tomatoes but no deer damage.

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