I began planting my garden like I do every year at this time. This year, however, I had four-legged visitors I did not plan on. My neighbour had decided some weeks ago to build a fence around his backyard. As a result, the deer no longer were able to use his yard as their runway and decided to try mine instead.
In the early part of June I saw my first deer. After a brief look around my garden I immediately noticed that something had clipped the tops off of my Anaheim peppers. No other damage was observed at that time. I decided then to look into pest deterrent options to protect my garden and purchased the Guardian™.
On June 15th a large doe was observed eating the tops off of all my peppers. Upon closer inspection I realized that the peppers were too far away for the motion sensor to be activated. My original placement of the Guardian™ was based mainly on where the deer were entering my yard not the garden itself. With this new evidence I decided to move the Guardian™ from its original location to a new one where it now covers the entire area where my plants are growing.
The next day I watched a deer walk through the backyard and go straight for the garden. The deer went straight to the peppers, but this time, (see image 1), you can clearly see the doe wants to go into the garden, but is irritated by the sound of the Guardian™ by cocking its head and ear to the side to deflect the ultrasonic sound.
The next day I observed two deer laying down in my garden. One was in front of the Guardian™ and the other behind it. They were not moving so the sensor was not activating the unit. More of my peppers had been eaten as well as all of my Swiss chard, some lettuce, and a couple of nips at my tomato plants. Because I had only just moved the device and oriented it towards my garden and not the backyard entrance, this was not a huge surprise as the deer may have been still adjusting to the new placement of the Guardian™.
As of June 24th no deer were observed in my garden since I moved the Guardian™ to cover that area instead of the entry-way from the back field. I did however notice that the unit does go off at random times due to the wind blowing the branches around, causing the senor to activate the unit. With a minor adjustment to the sensitivity dial, this problem was corrected. My neighbour also let me know that he had observed several deer wandering around the field outside of my garden but would not come on to my property. This was a good sign that the deer are becoming more aware of the Guardian™ and are leaving my plants alone.
On July 1st I observed no new activity or disturbances in my garden, however, I did notice that many of my neighbours have gone to great lengths both in labor and expense in deterring deer from their gardens by building fences to protect their plants when all I needed was the Guardian™.
Around July 5th I noticed that some of the branches on my tomato plants that are outside the range of the unit’s sensor, had been eaten. The fact that it was only these branches further points to the fact that the deer are respecting the areas covered by the Guardian™ and are staying away.
Almost two weeks later, around July 15th, I was walking through the garden and I noticed that the peppers had been eaten down again. Upon closer inspection I realized that the tomato plants had grown so much in height that they are now blocking the sensor of the unit for that part of the garden. As a result, I will raise the unit to look over the tomato plants.
Having been on vacation for most of August, on September 13th, upon my return I found many new piles of deer scat both in the garden as well as outside of it. Amazingly none of the plants had even been touched! Even the pepper plants had produced and they were the first to get eaten early on. In my opinion, in order to get the best results from using the Guardian™; its placement and subsequent monitoring thereafter to ensure proper exposure, will deliver the desired outcome necessary to keep deer out of your garden. This can be easily achieved by monitoring the Guardian™ in tandem with the daily maintenance of your garden.
The efficacy of the Guardian™ was not without its challenges (see image 2). There were a few times when the deer did get the better of the unit, however, on each occasion this was due to factors that had nothing to do with the engineering of the unit. External factors like plant growth or plants outside the range of the sensor were the main causes of these trials and required simple adjustments for the Guardian™ to achieve its full potential.
The protection provided by the Guardian™ was more than sufficient and allowed me to have one of my best harvests yet from my garden.
B.A., Wildlife Biology
Science Teacher, Ashland School District