How To Save Tomato Plants From Deer? Physical, Natural & Chemical Methods

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Quick Answer: How To Save Tomato Plants From Deer?

The tomato plants can be saved from deer using odor and taste-based repellents, including soaps, hot sauce sprays, and companion planting deer-resistant garden plants. The non-lethal methods, including erecting a fence, laying down wires, and setting up motion-activated sensors and ultrasonics devices, can deter deers. Commercially available deer repellents can also be used.

In this guide, I will introduce various methods to save tomato plants from deer that work.

Let us get started!

How Deer Harms Tomato Plants?

Deer are hungry animals and will eat the tomato fruits, foliage, and tomato stems when they are hungry. If left uninterrupted, these animals can eat the whole plant and occasionally even the roots.

It will bite from the top of the plant.

You may watch this video to know more:

How To Confirm That Deer Is Troubling Your Tomato Plant?

The critical sign that deer are troubling the tomato plant is the loss of foliage and fruits from the top part of the plant.

Also, they may pull the entire plant and result in a torn stem with a serrated edge.

If you observe that the whole tomato plant is vanished or find it lying on the ground, you may confirm that deer are visiting your garden and troubling your plants. 

You may also look for signs of hoofprints and droppings on the garden soil around the soil.

Check out this link for additional information:

How To Save Tomato Plants From Deer?

There are different natural, physical, and chemical methods to save tomato plants from damage by deer.

You may choose one depending on your garden and preferences.

Next, let us explore the different methods to deter deer in detail.

Natural Ways To Deter Deer From Tomato Plants

The different natural ways that deter deer from damaging tomato plants are using odor and taste-based repellents.

It includes soaps, diluted hot sauce spray, and growing popular herbs near the tomato vines.

1. Use Nylon Stockings With Soap

The scent of soap can be a quicker and more cost-effective measure to deter deer from damaging tomato plants.

  • Prepare nylon stockings- Fill the nylon stockings with a strong-scented soap bar.
  • Hang it around the plants– Tie the stockings to the stake, fence post, or other structures within three feet of the tomato plants.
  • Replace the soap– Replace the soap if the soap melts or loses its scent.

Here is a video on using soap to deter deer:

2. Spray Diluted Hot Sauce

Hot sauce is used as a deer deterrent and prevents the deer from touching the plants. It doesn’t harm the animals but creates a burning sensation in the mouths.

  • Prepare the hot sauce spray-Mix one part of the hot sauce with 16 parts of water and transfer to a spray bottle.
  • Spray on the plants– Spray the tomato plants with the diluted hot sauce until they are dripping. Respray the plants after it rains. It will prevent the deer from damaging the plants.

3. Use Homemade Deer Repellent

Milk, eggs, and essential oils act as odor repellents. Tabasco sauce acts as a taste repellent whereas dish soap acts as a detergent. It helps in saving the tomato plants from deer damage.

  • Prepare the homemade spray-Mix two beaten eggs, one cup of milk, two teaspoons of Tabasco sauce, 20 drops of essential oil, one teaspoon of cooking oil, and one teaspoon of liquid soap. Top a gallon tank with water.
  • Spray on the plants–  Shake the sprayer and mist on the dry foliage of tomato plants.

Here is a useful video on making homemade deer repellent:

4. Plant Deer-resistant Plants As Companion Plants

Companion plants have a bitter flavor or scent that can be used as the first of defense against deer. These plants can be grown near tomato plants to prevent deer from damaging the plants.

  • Plant companion plants– You may choose plants with hairy leaves, including heliotrope, begonia, and poppies as companion plants. 

Aromatic herbs, including sage, thyme, lavender, rosemary, and thyme can be grown near tomato plants.

Check out this video on using companion plants as deer deterrents:

Physical Ways To Deter Deer From Tomato Plants

The different physical ways to deter deer are installing a fence, creating a perimeter, installing motion detectors, and ultrasonic devices. These are noninvasive methods that are unaffected by weather.

1. Install A Fence

Erecting wire fences are considered to be an effective means of preventing deers from damaging tomato plants. You may use a double fence or electric fence to keep the deer out of your garden.

  • Hammer wooden stakes– Secure the stakes into the ground around the tomato plants. It should be at least eight feet high.
  • Wrap the mesh– Wrap the mesh around the outside of the stake and tie it with string. Push it to the nest stake and tie it.  Repeat the process until all the stakes are covered.

2. Create A Perimeter Around The Plants

Another cost-effective method to deter deer is to lay down the fencing wire around the tomato garden. Wide rock beds can also prevent deer into the garden.

  • Lay down the wire– Lay down the wire fencing on the ground along the border of your tomato garden. It will retreat the deer after stepping on the wire as it doesn’t like the feel of wire under its hooves.
  • Border using rocks– You may also create a 6-8 foot border of large rocks around the area to prevent deers from leaping into gardens.

3. Install Motion Activated Sprinklers

Motion-activated sprinklers can be used to save your tomato plants from deer. It will deliver a burst of water when it detects deer motion and scares the animals.

  • Install the motion-activated sprinklers– Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and install the sprinklers with motion detectors around the garden’s perimeter.
  • Move the sprinkler– Move the sprinkler to a new spot every few days for maximum protection. These detectors can also be rigged with a scarecrow or bright lights to scare the deer.

You may watch this video on setting up a motion-censored sprinkler to deter deer:

4. Use Ultrasonic Deer Repellents

Ultrasonic repellers create high-frequency sounds that deers find hard to tolerate. It can help in saving the tomato plants from deer damage. It is the most humane and noninvasive deer deterrent method.

  • Install ultrasonic deer repellents- Install the ultrasonic repellers near the tomato plants by following the manufacturer’s instructions. It triggers the sounds when the deer are near.

Check out this video on using electronic deer repellers:

Chemical Ways To Deter Deer From Tomato Plants

Different sprays, liquid concentrates, and granular repellents are available to discourage the deer from damaging tomato plants.

Keep pets and children away from these chemicals.

1. Use Commercial Deer Repellent

Commercial deer repellents can keep deer away. It comes in the form of sprays or granules. It has an offensive taste, odor, or combination of both to discourage deer.

  • Prepare commercial deer repellent– Follow the manufacturer’s directions and dilute the chemical repellent as required.
  • Apply the chemical repellent– Spray the prepared repellent on the plants. Reapply as required as the smell fades away.

Here is a useful video on using deer repellents:


Do coffee grounds keep deer away?

Some gardeners have had success with sprinkling coffee grounds close to the plants to deter deer due to its strong bitter smell. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove that coffee grounds will prevent deer from damaging the garden.

Are tomato leaves poisonous to deer?

The leaves, stems, and unripe fruits of tomatoes contain solanine compounds that can be toxic to humans and deer. If the deer ingests a few leaves, it won’t damage the animal. But, ingestion of large quantities of solanine can be harmful.

Can you use predator urine to deter deer?

Few initial studies have shown that coyote urine applied to cotton balls or old clothes can deter deer due to its strong smell. However, pure urine will oxidize and lose its smell in the air. So, more studies are required to warrant its effect.


I hope this guide was insightful in providing many methods to deer-proof your garden and protect the tomato plants. 

If you have any other tips or tricks to share, please leave a comment!

And don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family so they can learn how to protect their tomato plants too.

There are other pests you need to be aware of and careful about. Find about them here>