May 6, 2011

Fences, Liquid and Otherwise

Imagine for a moment that the third grade from your local elementary school stopped by to visit your garden – not just one class, but the entire third grade. Now, imagine that they all simultaneously upchucked in your garden. Tossed their cookies. All 200 of them. Got that imagine firmly in your head?

You now have an idea of what it is like to be around a fresh application of ‘Liquid Fence’. My apology for the graphic nature of the preceding paragraph, but the Internet does not yet have (at least not to my knowledge, anyway) a smell-sharing component and, if Steve Jobs is working on such an app, he would best put Liquid Fence on the ‘we-don’t-want-that-out-there’ list.

I write all this because, at seven o’clock this morning, Betty applied Liquid Fence to our garden. It took two gallons of spray to do everything. Early May is when the garden truly comes alive with hundreds of hosta and all manner of other tender shoots breaking the surface. These ‘tender shoots’, in turn, represent Sunday brunch at the Four Seasons for the local deer and rabbit population.

Bambi can eat a couple of thousand
dollars worth of plants in an hour.
After a few hours, the Liquid Fence dries and, to us humans, the smell becomes almost undetectable. To deer and rabbits, it remains not only detectable but extremely unpleasant. In my observation, even two weeks after application, deer walk up to a tasty plant and then walk away. (There are multiple brands out there that contain the same basic ingredients – putrescent egg solids and garlic. We have also used Bobbex with similar results.)

Liquid Fence and its ilk are not cheap. We buy gallon-sized jugs of concentrate that yield 16 gallons of sprayable product. That gallon jug bears a price tag of $126. At retail, those two gallons of spray cost $16.

But $16 is roughly the cost of one very nice hosta or two attractive perennials. In our yard, one deer could, in an hour’s time, munch through several thousand dollars worth of plants. In the case of our neighbors, each year the deer come through their yard and ‘lollipop’ a pair of very expensive evergreens grown in containers. Each spring, their landscaper replaces those evergreens at a cost of, say, $300 for the pair. The Liquid Fence starts looking cheap after a while.

This is a deer clearing a five-foot
fence.  As you can see, it did
so with room to spare.
At this time of year, because plants are growing rapidly, we will spray every two to three weeks. Come July, we’ll slow down to an application every month. We’ll spray once in November then let snow cover do the work over the course of the winter. That November application will fairly well empty out the gallon of concentrate.

The alternative is a deer fence. From a standing start, a deer can easily clear a three- or four-foot fence and nearby is a photo of one jumping over a five-foot fence. So, things called ‘deer fences’ are netting that rises eight to ten feet. They must encircle a property to be effective, which means your driveway now will have gates. The cost? A website called ‘Deerbusters’ offers a kit consisting of stakes and 100 feet of seven-and-a-half-foot fencing for $259. On that basis, deer-proofing our two acres would cost right around $3100. You can buy a lot of Liquid Fence for that kind of money.

No comments:

Post a Comment