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The two best ways to prevent deer from eating your garden

Friday - 8/1/2014, 1:49pm  ET

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Mike McGrath says the machines that claim high frequency sound will deter deer are not proven to work. (AP Photo/Klas Stolpe, FILE)

The best place to spray deer repellent

WTOP's Megan Cloherty reports

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WASHINGTON - It's a problem growing worse in some areas where green space is becoming a thing of the past -- deer wandering into gardens and yards and making a meal of them.

There are two good options when it comes to repelling deer from your yard and garden, says WTOP Garden Editor Mike McGrath.

The first option is a stinky one, made with rotten eggs.

"You just look at the label and pick the deer repellent that has the highest concentration of putrescent egg solids as the active ingredient. That's the one that works in every study," McGrath says.

Spray it in a high concentration at what's called the browsing line, 32 inches off the ground.

"Ninety percent of the time, deer are going to start browsing near that line. You really want them to get a mouthful of highly concentrated deer repellent," he says.

The repellent has been shown to be less effective if it is sprayed evenly over the entire plant.

The other cheaper option, because you don't have to reapply, is a motion-activated sprinkler that sprays anything that walks in the vicinity with cold water.

"It is a very effective way to keep not only deer, but Canadian geese and groundhogs out. These are essential if you have an unfenced vegetable garden," McGrath says.

He says turn it off and you'll likely forget to switch it back on, risking the loss of a plant or two to the deer.

"Yes, you're going to get hit with it every couple times when you wander into your garden first thing in the morning. And you learn to laugh that off," he says.

The one option McGrath says has not been proven to work is an ultrasonic machine that lets off a high frequency noise claiming to deter deer.

"None have been shown to work for above ground and below ground animals," he says.

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