The lone voice of horticultural reason

Deer and Critter Repellant Product

 ScareCrow Automatic Outdoor Animal Deterrent

It’s one of the most common questions I’m asked: What can I do to keep dear from munching on my garden?

To my usual list of pat answers (spray with egg-based deer sprays constantly during the entire season; erect a six-foot fence around your entire property; buy a dog; sell the house, buy a condo) I now add one more that is perhaps the simplest and most effective: Get a ScareCrow.

The fine Canadian garden product manufacturer Contech Electronics Inc. (located in one of North America’s most beautiful cities, Victoria, British Columbia) offers this innovative device to market, and test results and feedback look very positive. Scarecrow was introduced in 1997, and homeowners report an 87 percent satisfaction rate.

Place the ScareCrow in your yard along the perimeter, where deer are entering, and hook it up to a standard garden hose. When the ScareCrow detects movement, it releases a three-second burst of water towards the intruder. The effect of the sudden noise, movement, and spray of water is startling, and animals quickly flee the area.

Key to the design is a computerized “brain” inside the device that requires use of only one 9-volt battery. The ScareCrow can “fire” thousands of times (works night and day for up to four months on a single battery) with each unit covering approximately 1200 square feet. ScareCrows may be hooked up in series.

The product is designed not to trigger with the movement of smaller, innocuous critters such as songbirds. It will, however, scare the bejeezus out of pesky children who cut through your yard taking a shortcut to the school bus, and dampen their homeowork as well. It will also sense and become activated by intrusion from cats, dogs, rabbits, and geese. It should be noted, the ScareCrow is ideal for keeping herons and larger predatory birds out of water gardens and ponds.

The key to minimizing damage from deer is to use the kinds of deterrents that make it easy for deer to decide your neighbor’s yard is easier pickings than yours. ScareCrow helps you teach the deer in your area that grazing on Mrs. Ferguson’s hostas is a far less spookier proposition than that weird noise and water thing that occurs whenever they approach your property.

Best of all, it’s completely non-harmful to the animals and the planet. Contech’s full line of animal deterrent products (they also developed and sell the pet-training ScatMat, the CatStop Ultrasonic Cat Deterrent, and the WaterDog Automatic Outdoor Pet Fountain) are available at hardware stores and many garden centers across the US, or watch this YouTube video.

Don Engebretson
The Renegade Gardener