Can Deer and Hosta Coexist?

Hostas, sometimes known as plantain lilies, are prized by gardeners for their lush dense foliage, for the almost endless variations available, and the reliability of next year’s crop.  Most are both sunlight and deep shade tolerant, so you can locate them anywhere.

Deer have a similar level of passion for this beautiful plant, but unfortunately, theirs is gastronomically inspired.  It is absolutely at the top of their go-to list when the munchies hit.

For this reason, many gardeners simply give up and landscape their homes with species that are of no interest.  It is just too traumatic to come out in the morning to see your favorite plants mowed down by Bambi and friends.

I have used different defense strategies over the years, the latest one using body heat sensors to turn on a light and simultaneously power a solenoid to drop a load of stones into an empty steel garbage can.  This startling light and sound combo worked, but it required continual reloading and testing.

Anyway, this year I finally found the answer:  Yes, we can coexist.  It’s inexpensive and foolproof.  If you look closely at the hosta photo above, you see little black thingies evenly spaced.  This is a strong, but very light weight plastic netting used in orchards to protect fruit from birds.  It is so lightweight that the hosta supports it with no effort, like it wasn’t even there.  The filaments are so thin, it is essentially invisible.

But when the deer tries to eat the hosta, the net pushes the leaves away from its nose and makes it impossible to get a bite.  After a short time, it will just wander off looking for a better deal. 

Actually, I like deer as much as I like hosta.  Now, I can have both.

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