Deer are inherently attracted to grass, fruits, and plant life, with sunflowers being a delectable choice for whitetails, specifically. While sunflowers may not be their number one choice for a meal, their tall, brightly colored characteristics and vast amount of protein appeal to deer. Unfortunately, farmers experience mass losses and crop damage each year from deer eating sunflowers, costing millions of dollars. As a growing problem, it’s vital for farmers to know how to protect sunflowers from deer to safeguard their croplands and prevent costly expenses.
The Importance of Sunflowers for Farmers
Sunflowers are an incredibly valuable plant. As beautiful, nutrient-packed plants, sunflowers offer a variety of benefits for farmers. Sunflowers:
- Attract natural pollinators like bees, helping to ensure the lively growth of crops.
- Produce edible seeds high in protein and are an excellent source of Vitamin E.
- Help prevent contaminated soil by detoxing heavy metals like lead, copper, zinc, and arsenic from soil.
- Make beautifully cut arrangements that farmers can sell by the bunch.
As beneficial, striking flowers, sunflowers are positive attributes to a cropland that must be protected.
The Negative Implications of Deer Eating Sunflowers
In the wild, deer primarily feed on leaves, grass, and fruits where they can find them, but sunflowers and their seeds offer a delicious source of protein and phosphorus—an abundant macronutrient essential for antler growth. Deer primarily target sunflowers when other food options are scarce or if they feel they need an additional source of protein and fats.
Deer leave the sunflower’s stem intact, targeting the leaves first, then the sunflower head, but deer also love feeding on sunflowers that are not fully bloomed. This method hinders the growth of blooming sunflowers, stunting them from reaching their magnificent height and leaving little room for a profitable flower. Deer can also trample fields, damaging crops and plants, resulting in significant economic losses.
How to Protect Sunflowers from Deer: Prevention Methods
Deer overpopulation is a severe problem throughout the U.S., with many farmers experiencing the negative impact of deer damage. Luckily, there are many preventative methods to protect sunflowers from deer and safeguard your croplands and sunflower growth.
Installing fencing around a sunflower patch helps mitigate crop damage and prevent deer from snacking on your beloved row of florals. The positive benefit of fencing is that it’s a one-time investment, leaving your sunflower crop protected for years to come. However, the con is that installing fencing can be costly. Consider budget-friendly options like chicken wire or a field fence to prevent deer from entering your sunflower patch.
Further, if you have open water on your farmland, like a pond or manmade lake, that could also attract deer to your property. Deer most often target farmlands because they are looking for an accessible water source. Plants provide hydration and nutrients to deer, causing them to feed on sunflower crops. Utilizing fencing around crops and water sources leaves little access to water and food sources, pushing deer to congregate elsewhere.
The barricade can also prevent other unwanted wildlife from feasting on your yellow-pedaled friends. However, the average sunflower stands anywhere from 3 to 15 feet high, so it’s essential to build a fence high enough to block deer from reaching them.
Deer detest the smell of lavender, mint, and cinnamon. Those ingredients are often included in highly purchased spray repellents to prevent deer from entering your property. Deer prevention sprays are designed to keep plants and croplands safe. However, some deer repellents are created with harsh chemicals, hurting the environment and causing other risk factors if consumed.
Planting Natural Repellents
Since deer dislike the smell of certain scents like mint and lavender, adding those species to your garden is a cost-efficient and effective way to deter deer from reaching your sunflower patch. Salvias and peonies are also not favored by deer. However, if a deer is truly hungry, they will devour anything in their path.
Ultrasonic products emit a high-pitched frequency only deer and other wildlife can hear. This sound irritates animals and prevents them from entering your property. The con of using an ultrasonic device is that deer may grow accustomed to the sound and only retreat temporarily.
Propane cannons are another notable option for protecting sunflowers from deer, as the cannon is designed to emit a loud blast that can cover acres of land, startling deer. Since hunting season is a time deer are all too familiar with, they are prone to startle more from louder, gun-shot-like sounds, preventing them from feasting on a sunflower crop if startled. Cannons can also be set to trigger at varied times, preventing deer from becoming accustomed to when the device will go off.
Protecting Sunflowers from Deer With Good Life
Deer can cause mass amounts of damage to farmlands and agricultural spaces if not managed, but it’s important to find humane and eco-friendly products to do so. As an integral part of our ecosystem, deer contribute to ecological processes and revegetation. At Good Life, we understand the importance of protecting wildlife and farmlands. In doing so, we’ve created cost-efficient and effective pest control products that are humane and environmentally friendly. So, you can rid your property of deer while protecting them and other wildlife in the process.
Our G5 Bird and Wildlife Propane Cannon protects your property from birds and other wildlife, like deer, that may threaten crops and floral patches. With a sound intensity between 110-120 decibels and the ability to cover up to 7-10 acres, the potential to see a deer on your property is slim to none. Further, blast intervals can be set between 2 and 30 minutes using the included regulator, preventing deer from becoming familiar with the sound.
When looking for how to protect sunflowers from deer, look no further than Good Life. Our pest and bark control products can help alleviate the stress accumulated from uncontrolled pests like deer without the need for harmful poisons or dangerous traps, which can prevent complications with local wildlife laws for protected species.
Take a look at our other products that are both humane and eco-friendly.
Deer are smart creatures, but in the end, they’re just looking for a snack. By properly deterring them from your property, you can protect your sunflowers and other croplands from harm while also ensuring the safety of your furry friends.
If you’re ready to protect sunflowers from deer on your property, contact us today!