The morning I saw that the deer and eaten some of my favorite old garden rose bushes almost to ground I declared war on Bambi and his mom. Of course, I am not alone; all over the country gardeners are having problems with deer as they create deer-banquets in their backyards. Neil Soderstrom’s book, Deer-Resistant Landscaping, provides solid advice on how to live and garden successfully with deer and other mammalian pests. In fact the title does not do justice to the content as he also provides extensive advice for contending with twenty other mammals from armadillos to voles and woodchucks.
The book is divided into three parts; one on deer, a second on other mammalian pests, and the third on deer-resistant plants. The part on deer, whitetails, blacktails, and mule deer, is the longest, while the part on other mammalian pests devotes a separate chapter to each of 20 different mammals. Written in an easy, conversational style, the text provides general information about each animal as well as options for dealing with them. The background information includes the problems created for humans, role in the ecosystem, and behavior, so that the reader can better select the best option for his/her specific conditions. The material on behavior is very informative and often entertaining so that by the time you finish reading it the pest in question does not seem quite so bad. Hey, how bad can moles really be when they consume the grubs of damaging insects, aerate the soil, and drive off mice and voles?
The options given for controlling the various mammalian pests cover a huge range of possibilities including selection of resistant plants, repellents, barriers, altering the soil, and overplanting vegetables that the pest likes. Each pest has a different set of options based on many factors including food preferences, daily routine and breeding habits and the text addresses all of these factors when suggesting options for control. Instructions are given for making traps, barriers, and home-brewed baits and repellents.
Part 3 is a presentation on deer resistant plants. It includes a discussion of general characteristics of plants deer avoid as well as a list of 1,000 deer resistant plants listed by use and type, for example, ground covers, grasses, ferns, annuals, perennials, etc. Profiles of selected plants include a picture and information on appearance, native habitat, toxicity, propagation, care, hardiness, and light.
Control of deer and other mammals is a complicated endeavor. Successful control depends on understanding the animal and the site as well as a willingness to try many different measures until the desired level of control is achieved. This book provides both the background and possible control measures to allow a gardener to tailor the solution to his/her problem. It is a great reference book to use over the years as conditions change and new methods of control must be devised.
To buy Deer-Resistant Landscaping: Proven Advice and Strategies for Outwitting Deer and 20 Other Pesky Mammals from Amazon.com click here.