Oh Deer: Protecting this year’s Christmas tree crop

Hair clippings, cayenne pepper and raw eggs – these are just a few of the odd ingredients  recommended to keep those pesky deer away from your backyard garden. But what about farmers who have hundreds of acres of Christmas trees to protect? North Carolina State University Extension specialists have now found an effective, inexpensive alternative to available commercial products to keep the deer at bay.

The N.C. State researchers, led by Jeff Owen, a Christmas-tree production Extension specialist, are exploring the use of  inexpensive, inedible food byproducts – such as dried blood and egg powder – typically sold in bulk to the pet-food industry to be used for flavoring. These byproducts cost 85 to 90 percent less than their commercial counterparts, and are found to be just as effective. Using these repellents – which can be purchased locally in bulk – may provide tree farmers an early Christmas present.

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