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Deer and Geese in the Yard
How to control them

Q: For several years we've had deer enjoying more of our garden then we do. I could enjoy a little venison now and then but we just don't have that kind of room in the freezer.

We tried netting and that worked but it has to be far enough back from the edge of the garden to allow us to move freely around the (high) rows and that makes it difficult to cut the grass. Netting is also a pain in the neck to put up, take down and roll up and requires some kind of makeshift gate.

Next: a friend gave us some long streamers with reflecting banners (as you might see around an auto dealer's lot) and we strung that around the garden about 3 to 4 feet off the ground and that not only kept the deer out of the garden, it also kept them away from that end of our yard and was easy for us to duck under to enter and exit the garden. Also easy to take down and roll up for the "off season" or "rabbit season."

However, as effective as the banners are at keeping the deer out of the yard, it has no affect on the geese that leave those nasty finger sized items that seem to compost about as quickly as a beer can.

They certainly can't be on anyone's "Endangered" list so perhaps they should have an open season on them as they do with the deer. It is not unusual to see 50 or more in the school yard behind us and we keep having to chase them out of our yard.

Any ideas?

A: There is a hunting season for geese, but I don't think your municipality would condone discharging a firearm within city limits, especially with a school nearby! Check with your city and the Department of Natural Resources for more information along these lines.

Short of letting a German Shepherd patrol your yard, you will probably have to preclude the geese with some sort of physical barrier. This barrier can be a simple fence, a wide strip of high grass (geese don't like to walk through high grass -- they can't see any predators), or shrubs.

None of these needs to be very high to do the job, and if the geese are strolling in from the adjoining property, one of the above should work. If they're flying in, it'll be a tougher job to keep them out.

I would consider installing a short, attractive fence and complementing it with some nice shrubbery. If you're a do-it-yourself-er, you can find these items at local garden centers, nurseries or home-building stores.

Ask for advice on the type of shrubs to plant -- you'll want something that stays relatively low with little maintenance. I might even put a tree at the corners to round things off.

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Arborist Tom Mugridge

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