Don't Fence Me In

Innovative “sound, spray, switch” technique helps homeowners outsmart hungry deer.



I love deer. Really, I do. But not when they are decimating my day lilies. So when I heard about Nature Technologies (now called DeerTech) three years ago, I signed on to be a test site. Waccabuc, where I live, is apparently the epicenter of deer activity in the county.

Installers arrived and planted five ultrasonic devices, resembling small flying saucers perched on rods, strategically around my garden. The devices emit a series of sounds, for the most part inaudible to humans, that interfere with the deer’s internal predator warning system, making them uneasy and anxious, unwilling to hang around munching on your plants. The sound cycles through 10 different frequencies, so the deer can’t adapt to any one sound. I was warned to expect some deer browse during their learning curve and that the garden wouldn’t be protected during power outages, frequent occurrences in my neck of the woods.

So, how did it work? That first year, not so great. My newly planted Shasta daisies, black-eyed Susans, hydrangeas—even the tree peonies, coreopsis, and other so called deer-resistant species—were eaten to the ground.
In year two of the trial, the company added spraying to its arsenal, which worked better than the sound deterrent alone. While many of the plants munched to the ground the year before recovered, none bloomed. Frequently tweaking the sprays, the company found the winning combination. And? This year, I have a profusion of daisies in bloom, the hydrangeas are happy, and so am I.

And so, it appears, are the customers. In just three years, the company has grown to 2,000 customers from Hartford, Connecticut, to Philadelphia. “What we are doing is liberating homeowners to plant what they want,” says CEO Alan Seiler, a Cross River resident.

Harriet DiMarzo, a Pound Ridge resident, sadly learned how quickly deer could decimate her property. “When we moved to Northern Westchester, we planted deer-resistant plants that the local nursery recommended,” she says. But one morning she came outside to find several thousand dollars' worth of junipers eaten. Then she heard about DeerTech. "If I see any signs of browsing, I just call the company and they send someone right out to adjust the units or the sprays—at no extra charge. This is our third season, and I am so happy to be able to have flowers in my garden.”

Details: Cost is $350 per unit installed with a 60-day free trial; average property needs nine units. Monthly monitoring of property and spraying starts at $99 per month. For more information, visit deertechusa.com.

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