Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Lockdown Activities: Garden Deer Fence (April 2020)

Apparently, the local white-tailed deer are able to jump over 8-foot chain-link fences. (I believe the deer exclusion fence surrounding Tyler Arboretum in Media, PA is 12-feet in height.)
Last year GFE maintenance attached a few broomstick-type poles to the top of the fence as extensions, strung twine through holes drilled in the poles, and tied on strips of yellow caution-tape. The high winds whipped the string and caution-tape to shreds.
After the Garden group meeting on March 10th, Kent was asked his opinion about the fence. However,  Ray W did not want to use [more durable] wire, because we did not want to injure the deer. He had plenty of string that was at least stronger than twine.
Nothing was done for over a month.
So we went to the woodshop and found scraps of lumber to make additional 2-foot extensions from every post of the chain-link fence, not just every 3 of 4 posts. We attached eye-screws to the extensions at 1- and 2-feet above the chain-link fence. We strung Ray's string through the eye screws and wrapped the string around each extension several times to minimize friction. 
GFE Garden with a "deer-fence" extension
We put out a call for old CDs to be donated, and received hundreds! These we tied up with string, attempting to glue the CD string onto the fence string to prevent them from sliding into each other. This worked well enough if it was not windy when we applied the glue.
Lower end of the garden with compost bins
The fierce winds did whip the CDs, wrapping them
around and around the fence string, which was okay
Eventually we had most of the CDs in place
At the upper end of the garden, Ray has many
garden plots filled with tomato plants
As expected, the fence string has broken a couple times, and a few CDs have cracked and "slipped away." We doubled the string fence and shortened the CD strings, and can only say that it has lasted longer than the first deer fence attempt.
Addendum: Ray insists that deer are still getting into the garden, leaving impressions in newly tilled soil. But there are no distinct deer hoof prints, which one would expect if they were jumping into the garden.  One GFE resident has an animal-cam, and has verified that there is a chipmunk living in the garden. The impressions could be chipmunk or even bird scratchings.