Is There a Way to Keep Deer From Eating Roses?

susankal added on November 13, 2017 | Answered

I want to plant some rosebushes. I live in zone 5-6 in Colorado, 6100 feet. We have lots of deer. I hope to put in some "At Last" roses, a fragrant floribunda. Is there anything I can spray these roses with or anything I can do, short of caging the rosebush, to keep deer away? A tall fence around the entire yard is not an option, unfortunately. Thank you for any advice you can provide. Susan

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Answered on November 13, 2017

What you may want to do is use to try to make your rosebushes as unappetizing to deer as possible. Deer tend to be turned off by strong smells—particularly rotten ones (such as eggs and garlic). Deer also tend not to like the smell of urine (particularly from large predatory animals) and blood. This, of course, would mean that you don’t get to enjoy the fragrance of your roses. Also, you’d have to reapply these things often as they wash away from your plants. Most deer also don't like the taste of hot and spicy. Hot pepper spray (store bought or homemade from hot peppers) works pretty well too, but you’ll have to reapply it thoroughly and frequently to your roses—especially after a rain.
Since you said that you don’t want to use cages around your roses and that you don’t want to build a high fence, you may want to consider getting a large, intimidating pet (such as a dog) that you could allow to roam freely around where your roses will grow. The downside of that, of course, will mean having to care for it (feeding and cleaning up after it).

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