Do Deer Eat Sweet Peas?

By Paul Smart •  Updated: 02/05/22 •  6 min read

Do Deer Eat Sweet Peas? Sweet peas are an absolute favourite in many peoples gardens because of the volume of flowers are they produce over an extremely long period of time. However, for many people that live in an area that has a large deer population, you may wonder whether it is possible to plant sweet peas given that deer are extremely persistent pests.

Sweet peas are considered to be relatively deer resistant compared to other plants though deer have been known to have a nibble from time to time. This means that while sweet peas are not the deers’ favourite food they will eat them and they do not have any significant deer repellent properties like some plants.

As a general rule deer will eat most plants If they are hungry enough except those that are highly fragrant, toxic, or generally thorny. Most varieties of sweet peas are relatively fragrant which helps to discourage deer from eating them though the odd variety may have no fragrance, such as perennial sweet pea. 

Highly fragrant or toxic plants can sometimes be used to repel deer from the area however this does not always work and additional measures may need to be taken if you have other plants within your garden that are more susceptible to attack.

Keeping Deer Out Of Your Garden

As deer are an extremely persistent pest there are not any methods that are hundred percent effective with the exception of excluding them from your garden entirely. The only effective way to do this is to erect an 8 ft fence around your property which for some people is either impractical or cost-prohibitive.

The fences need to be relatively tall because deer are known to be excellent jumpers and academic studies have shown that they can jump 6 ft fences relatively easily.

However, if erecting a fence is not a realistic option there are a range of deer repellent solutions that can be employed however their effectiveness does vary depending upon the product and its frequency of use.

Deer repellent systems can be generally divided up into two main categories chemical repellents and mechanical repellents. Chemical repellents are generally considered to be more effective based on the academic research that is available.

Chemical Repellent

There is a huge range of products available on the market that can generally be divided up into 3 major categories which are fear-inducing, pain-inducing and smell and taste deterrents. Of these types research has indicated that fear-inducing is by far the most effective methods of keeping deer out.

The fear-inducing chemical repellents are generally based on ingredients such as coyote urine, blood, and putrified egg. Putrified egg is an effective repellent because it produces an odour that is similar to smells produced by aome common predators.

However, even the most effective dear repellent products are only effective for approximately 10 to 12 weeks even if the product is reapplied as per the manufacturers’ directions. The reason for this is that the deer can become acclimatised to the smell over time and will begin to feed in your garden as normal.

Due to this problem, we generally recommend that you purchase at least two different deer repellents and alternate them throughout the year to increase the chances of keeping the deer away from your garden as long as possible.  There is a range of products available that are effective, however, the two that we gently recommend are our Deer out and Plantskydd because they are both fear-inducing products that are based on different formulations and therefore have a different smell. If you need to purchase them click on the links to visit Amazon

Mechanical Repellents 

The mechanical repellents also have a range of different types that very ineffectiveness. They can be categorised as motion-activated sprinkler systems, ultrasonic systems, and predator eyes which is a device that mimics the appearance of predators eyes at night.

Of these devices, the motion-activated sprinkler systems appear to be the most effective however they are generally not as good as chemical repellents and cannot be relied upon as your sole deer repellent method. Longer-term academic studies have shown that these devices do not substantially affect deer feeding habits, however, they can be used as a surprise tactic in combination with other measures.

To get the most out of a device of this nature it is advisable to vary the position of the sprinklers and also periodically turn them on and off to ensure that the deer do not become too accustomed to their presence. If you have periods of the year in which you need to increase the level of protection such as when a crop is due to be picked this would be an ideal time to employ that additional protection.

If you wish to purchase a motion-activated sprinkler the one that we would recommend is the Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer because it has a 40 ft detection range and 120-degree view which ensures a large area can be protected with a single device. To see the latest price on Amazon click here.

The second type of device which is commonly sold is ultrasonic systems which are typically promoted as being effective against deer, domestic animals and rodents. However, there has been a substantial amount of academic research conducted on these products which indicates that they do not affect the behaviour of the target animal with some researchers stating within the reports that these devices simply do not work. As such we would not advise that you purchase a device of this nature. 

The third type of device that is commonly used is a predator eyes which has had limited research completed upon it to test its effectiveness. However, when looking at the reviews from a range of customers that bought these types of devices the general consensus is that they are disappointed with the performance of these items. Some reviews also include video footage showing deer eating right next to the predator eyes which suggests that they are not effective for very long if at all. As a result of this would not recommend that you purchase this type of device.

 I hope you found this article useful, if you have any comments or questions please leave them in the section below. 

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Paul Smart