Product Review: Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent

I don't do many product reviews on this blog, as I don't think that's what both most of you come here to read. Occasionally though I'm contacted by a company that sells a product that I think would be worth reviewing, and today you get to read about one of those.

The product is Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent, and although I was sent a bottle of this free of charge early in the growing season, I wanted to give it a good long test before talking about it. My verdict: it works! But...


I want to start by saying that spraying and I aren't the best of friends. I don't mind doing it once in a while, but if regular application of anything is necessary, well, that's where I fail. I don't have a regular schedule when it comes to the garden, and tasks get overlooked, forgotten.

The directions for this product say to spray once, then a week later, then once a month after that. For areas with heavy deer browsing (which I think I have) they say do weekly three times, then once a month.

Since at least one deer started jumping into my fenced veggie garden this year and pruned my tomatoes severely, I figured this was the perfect spot for the test. If the product failed I'd be in no worse shape than I was without it, but if it worked I might actually get some tomatoes.  So I applied once, and immediately checked the ingredient list...

...yes, rotten eggs and garlic is exactly how I'd describe the smell. Sort of a "salad dressing from hell" scent. I agree with the bottle that once the stuff dries it's not a problem though -- the smell almost goes away (or does go away depending on who you ask).

I applied again a week or two later. During that time I saw no evidence of new deer browsing.

Here's the problem though: around here, a tomato plant grows a lot in a month (the time until the next spraying according to the directions). Maybe a foot or two. All of that new foliage is unsprayed and therefore smells just fine to a deer. So I think that you should expect to have to spray every couple of weeks on anything that grows quickly.

Also, big plants like my hyacinth bean vines, well, it's just not practical to spray the entire thing -- or so you'd think. Think for a minute of a giraffe in the wild. Do you picture them stretching their necks to reach some green foliage, really working hard for their meal? Deer during the growing season are nothing like giraffes. They're lazy, and only seem to eat leaves that are at a certain height, like they don't want to move their heads too far up or down. (On some plants at least)

What this means is that you don't need to spray the entire huge plant. Spray the parts that they are most likely to sniff first, and they'll probably move on.

I had a very busy second half of the summer so couldn't make later applications. The end result was that the tomato plants got chomped again. I did apply this stuff to my fall-planted kale and beet seedlings though, as I haven't had time to do anything about my fence yet.

Since I had forgotten that this stuff is supposed to deter rabbits too, I didn't think to use it on the euphorbia that kept getting pruned... don't know if rabbits are deterred.

I did apply some to the new clematis I planted, just in case a herbivore got curious.

The label doesn't say anything about woodchucks though, and I saw one just the other day in my neighbor's yard.

So, let's wrap this up...

Pros: Deters deer (not enough data on rabbits), not too smelly after dry

Cons: Frequent application needed on fast-growing plants, not practical for large swaths of plants

The size that I was sent (1 quart) is a bit pricey at $14 or so, but they also sell a 40 oz. concentrate that makes 5 gallons for about $30. I'm planning on using this more extensively next year as a last line of defense and on smaller, younger plants, and will then decide if the spraying is worth it for me.

If it saves that one prized plant and gives it a chance to bloom, it's probably worth it, right?

Disclaimer: I did not get paid to review this product, but as noted was sent this sample for free by Dog Fence DIY


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (October 23, 2014 at 12:39 PM)  

I don't have any problems with deer--heck, we have no deer--but my mother-in-law does. I'll let her know that this works if you apply it as directed (or at least more or less regularly).

Alan  – (October 23, 2014 at 1:11 PM)  

Gerhard: Animals have different tastes just like people do, so I wouldn't be surprised if there are some deer out there that love the taste of this stuff -- think of some of the crazy foods that people eat. So I don't expect any product like this to be bullet-proof.

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