Sunday, December 26, 2010

Deer Country 3: Helpful Information for Gardeners

What better time to read about deer and gardening than during the winter months, when you’re dreaming of next year’s gardens and wondering how to keep deer away.

Over the last 15 years I’ve read several books and many magazine articles and Internet resources about gardening in deer country. I want to recommend five publications—one university publication and four books. The university publication is available free online, and the books are available for sale at local or online book sellers and for checking out at some libraries.

1. Fact Sheet 655, “Resistance of Ornamentals to Deer Damage,” available free online to read, download, or print, at the University of Maryland Extension’s Home & Garden Information Center’s website. The brochure divides plants into four categories, “Rarely Damaged,” “Seldom Damaged,” “Occasionally Damaged,” and “Frequently Damaged.” Each of those categories is then subdivided into “Trees, “Shrubs & Climbers,” and “Annuals, Perennials, & Bulbs.” A great first publication to read if you’re serious about solving your deer problem. To access, CLICK HERE.

2. Neil Soderstrom, Deer-Resistant Landscaping: Proven Advice & Strategies for Outwitting Deer & 20 Other Pesky Mammals (Rodale). I think this recent book (2009) is the best of the four I’m recommending. It’s a book you can pick up and read a chapter or just skim here and there. It contains hundreds of color photos. Chapter 1 is “Outwitting Deer.” The next chapters are about everything from armadillos and bears to voles and woodchucks. Chapter 21 is “Research on Deer Resistance.” Chapter 22 is “Deer-Resistant Plants.” Chapter 23 is “Profiles of Deer-Resistant Plants.” This is a stunning beautiful and highly useful and insightful book. 635.0496S in Howard County libraries.

3. Rhonda Massingham Hart, Deer Proofing Your Yard & Garden (Storey). This was my long-time favorite until Soderstrom’s book arrived. Read it if Soderstrom isn’t available, or you want to read two books on the subject. I’ve always smiled that this deer book was written by a Hart. 635.0496M in Howard County libraries.  ("M" for Massingham, the last name now used by the author.)

4. Bill Adler, Jr., Outwitting Deer (Lyons). Similar in organization and contents to the Hart book. Adler's writing should make you smile at times.  This is the only book where you find a comment of the Humane Society of the United States followed a few pages later by a recipes for Curried Venison and Venison Shortcake.  635.0496A in Howard County libraries.

5. Vincent Drzewucki, Jr., Gardening in Deer Country (Brick Tower). 635.0496D. Similar to Hart and Adler, but perhaps a bit simpler, especially good if you’ve napped too long and want a quick read. 635.0496D in Howard County libraries.

Isn’t there snow in the forecast? Happy reading.

In the next Deer Country: homemade and commercial deer repellents. Do they work?

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