Use Irish Spring to keep out garden pests.

By: Diy maven May 11, 2007

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Perennials are springing up everywhere. And the herbivores are loving it. The hostas pictured above are always the first course. Around here, the biggest culprit of garden dining are deer. Don’t believe me? I took the following picture of our back yard two years ago. Apparently, we are living in the Grand Central Station for the Bambi crowd.

Garden stores sell various deer and rabbit deterrents, but most are topical treatments that have to be applied after each rain or even heavy dew and, generally, they’re expensive. Since many are based on smells (a popular one is coyote urine), it’s not surprising a non-appetizing, odoriferous, rainproof thing such as Irish Spring keeps the critters at bay.

Just cut a bar into cubes, wrap the cubes in scraps of cloth, and staple them onto stakes.

Drive the stakes in among the tantalizing vegetation. I also cut smaller bits to scatter along the ground.

Yes, the yard smells ‘refreshing’ and no, the soap doesn’t suds up during a rain. Last year, I did the stake trick at the beginning of the year, but replenished my scattered pieces once a month or so. Together, they seemed to do the trick; the deer left my plants alone.

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Comments

@MN retiree...fabulous to hear from a fellow Minnesotan who tried the Irish Spring trick! I do love my bunnies and deer, but, yes, they are a scourge on gardens everywhere here. :)

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The deer, bunnies and I have had a battle over my tulips for years. Liquid Fence worked to some degree but it smells awful and I would forget to reapply it after a rain. One day I took a cheese grater and a bar of Irish Spring outside and left soap flakes on the mulch around the plants. That was the first spring I came out the winner. Deer/bunnies - 0, me - 30 beautiful red tulips!

Thanks for the tip, I will try it. I always wondered what was eating my hosta! Do you have any tricks to keep racoons out of the trash? 

Wrap the Irish spring in dryer sheets and hang. They don't like that smell either. I have even just hung up dryer sheets and that kept the deer away.

murphys oil soap and water. about 1/2 cup murphys oil soap and the rest water in spray bottle. spray on hostas. will not kill plants and keeps the deer from eating the plants. spray once a week or after it rains. I even sprayed my hydrangea flowers and the deer stayed away. 

Sorry....but none of these work.  I tried them all including the soap and red pepper flakes!  

pee in your corners of garden. critters don't like human scent.

If I had deer visiting my yard like in that pic, I plant as much as possible FOR them to eat!!!!

To avoid the soap residue getting into the soil, try putting the soap under  an overturned container. (give it an umbrella). 

hmmm. I just seen where a mouse had gotten into my gas grill!!!  Yuck in the biggest way.  I am going to try to put a bar of Irish Spring on the shelf.  

Does this only repel deer? Does it repel other critters? Does it repel bugs?

to avoid the irish spring in the soil, put the stake thru an old container first (butter or yogurt) and put putty around the opening to seal it.  Should work except in rainy season when you might have to remove the stakes because the containers overfill. that way, you shouldn't even have to replace the soap (it will melt into the dish where it will still stink), and the container keeps the soil clean.

get human hair from a beauty parlor, put it in a hairnet had hang it from low limbs or a rod of some sort...where the breeze can circulate the smell of humans...also narrow , long strips of plastic...I use lawn trash bads..tied to rods or limbs ...the movement and noise of the snapping plastic has for several seasond deterred the deer...the deer  avoid the unusual and take a different path through the area...this is in a neighborhood...Jan S

To avoid contamination of the ground AROUND the stake, put the stake in a container. A large bucket with sand and rocks?
The soap gets to the plants won't it be Toxic if you're planting edible stuff? This is permanently there unlike pesticides

Pepper flakes, or ANY hot type of pepper/spices are VERY cruel to mammals. If you're into torturing just to keep your flowers/gardens, as opposed to other methods, then fine.  Squirrels and other mammals WILL get the pepper into their eyes and are UNable to wash it out.  It burns and hurts them terribly.  Please don't use this method. I no longer plant pansies (mine & squirrel's favorites) I plant flowers the squirrels will not eat.

We are having a terrible problem with wild hogs rooting up our fields. It's just natural growth fields, nothing planted, put the rooted up earth makes it very difficult to run a tractor to bush hog the weed growth. Any ideas?

We used one of the sprays with success and then it stopped working. A neighbor told us to mix 1/4 c. Milk and 3/4 cup water and to spray it on anything they were eating while it was sunny. Haven't eaten a thing since! (Now that I've written this they will mow them down tonight!)

apparetly doesnt work on married pests  LOL

@MHobart - OK - maybe it Irish Spring isn't 'organic' but the only micro-organisms that are going to die are the ones on the stake, because when it rains any soap that dissolves will melt into the post and any soap that makes it down the post will disturb the soil a couple inches around the post - the garden will be fine.  Having said that, I find that red pepper flakes deter the smaller mammals.

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