Electric Fences Help Keep Deer Out of Garden

Electric fencing design thwarts even the most determined garden grazers.

| January/February 2010

What happens to small-market farmers when the deer herd in an adjacent park swells to approximately 400 animals in a 2-square-mile area? The farmers run the risk of getting eaten out of business, which is exactly what was happening to Charles Clarke, a Shawnee, Kansas, market gardener trying to grow a couple of acres of tomatoes and other produce. That is, until a friend introduced Charlie to a local electric fencing company with an innovative and effective solution.

“They decimated my garden last year (2008) and had already eaten 50 ‘Jet Star’ tomato plants this year (2009) before I got the garden completely planted,” Charlie says of the deer. “I was ready to give up.”

Although he earns some income from the garden, for Charlie, working the soil is a passion that’s good for his soul.

“I was really depressed because the deer ruined everything,” Charlie says. “I wouldn’t have planted at all this year but my friends and customers encouraged me, and I couldn’t say no.”

The handworked and hand-planted garden was smaller than normal this year – only 262 tomato plants, a row of peppers and a row of eggplant. “I used to grow pumpkins, potatoes and gourds to sell along with the others at the Shawnee City Market,” Charlie says. “Now I have barely enough to stock my table by the road.”

Searching for a solution

“I tried coyote urine, soap bars, conventional electric fencing, and 7-foot-tall plastic mesh fencing,” Charlie says. “But with about 400 hungry deer in the neighborhood, those efforts were completely wasted.”

1/12/2015 12:47:52 PM

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