Are Mums Deer Resistant? How To Protect Them

By Paul Smart •  Updated: 08/19/22 •  6 min read

Are Mums Deer Resistant? Mums are a popular flower that is used widely in many cottage gardens to produce a fantastic set of flowers, however, one of the most common questions that is asked of those people that live in an area that have lots of deer present is are the plants’ deer resistant or will the local deer population eat them before they can even flower?

Mums are generally not considered to be overly deer-resistant according to the  New Jersey agricultural experimentation station which rates them as being “Occasionally Severely Damaged”. This indicates that while mum’s are not a deer’s favorite food they will certainly still eat the plants and therefore they require some degree of protection.

There are several methods that are commonly used to protect and deter deer from eating plants, however, they are extremely persistent pests that will definitely get into your garden if they live in the local area. The only 100% effective method of protecting your plants is to exclude the deer from your garden or protect individual plants with a physical barrier.

Protecting individual plants is typically done by using wires and steaks that are sufficiently stiff to prevent the deer from bending them by sticking their nose through the mesh. However, if you have a relatively large garden with lots of plants that you want to protect applying individual protections to these plants is both impractical and usually unsightly. 

The other option which is also unattractive in some cases is to fence your entire garden to keep the deer out. However, for the fence to be effective it needs to be approximately 8 ft tall because deer are known to be able to jump fences that are at least 6 ft tall according to academic studies. To read more about these studies click here.

However, erecting such a large fence around the garden is extremely expensive and some cases quite practical for some gardeners, so what else can you do to protect your plants?

How To Protect Your Plants From Deer

There are a couple of things that can help to reduce the level of damage that occurs in your garden which include selecting plants the deer do not like to eat and adding them to the garden. As a general rule, deer do not like to eat plants that are fragrant, thorny, or toxic, so placing plants like this in the outer parts of the garden will discourage deer from entering the garden.

Additionally, it is preferable to place the plants that are relatively tall in these locations to reduce the visibility of the remainder of the garden which will discourage them from entering the garden first place.  Additionally, the other common option used is to purchase commercially available deer repellents.

Deer repellents can be divided up into chemical or mechanical dear repellents which will vary in their level of effectiveness significantly depending on the nature of the product.

Chemical Deer Repellents

Chemical deer repellents can be divided up into 3 main categories which are fear-inducing, pain-inducing, or generally fragrant deer repellents. Of these, the fear-inducing products are by far the most effective according to academic research that has been conducted.

These products are typically based on ingredients such as coyote urine, blood, and putrified egg which all trick the deer into thinking that there is a predator nearby discouraging them from hanging around the area.

However, academic research has shown that even the most effective chemical deer repellents only work for approximately 10 to 12 weeks after which the deer will resume their normal feeding habits. As a result of this, we generally recommend that you purchase at least two different deer repellents and alternate their use every 3 months or so to avoid the deer becoming accustomed to the products.

The two products that we recommend are deer out and plantskydd which are both fear-inducing deer repellents based on different ingredients and therefore smell different. To check out the latest price on Amazon click on the links above.

Mechanical Deer Repellents

Mechanical repellents can also be divided up into 3 major categories which include motion-activated sprinklers, ultrasound products, and predator eyes. Of these three products, motion-activated sprinklers are the most effective though they suffer from much the same problem as the chemical repellents which is deer can become accustomed to their presence, so they do become less effective over time.

To ensure that they do remain effective we recommend that you use them in conjunction with chemical repellents and turn them on and off throughout the year so they remain a surprise tactic. Additionally, we also recommend that you move their position around the garden which will also help to increase their effectiveness.

If you are considering purchasing a product of this nature we recommend the Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer because it has a 40ft detection range and a wide angle coverage which means that you only have to put one or two sprinklers into a yard to cover it adequately. To see the latest price on Amazon click on the link above.

The second very common device that is used to repel deer is the ultrasonic device which comes in a range of different types and a promoted widely by a range of different companies. These particular types of products have had a large amount of research conducted on them on a range of different animals including deer, rodents, squirrels, and domestic animals.

The research conducted indicates that these products are completely ineffective despite what the manufacturers may say. Several of the researchers have questions how these devices even affect the animals with many of them noting that the ultrasonic devices have virtually no effect on the animals. As such we do not recommend that you purchase this type of product.

The last type of deer repellent system which is commonly offered is predator eyes. Predator eyes devices are designed to mimic predators eyes at night to scare deer away. These types of devices have not had a lot of academic research done on them and therefore we’ve had to rely upon the feedback given by customers that have purchased the products.

The general consensus from customers has been that these products do not work well with some customers even posting videos of deer eating their plants right next to the predator eyes devices. This evidence suggests if these products are effective they are not effective for very long as such we would not recommend that you purchase them.

I hope you found this article useful and have great success growing mum’s in your garden, if you have any comments or questions please leave them in the section below.

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Paul Smart