Try hair to deter deer from your garden

Published 11:49 pm Thursday, April 21, 2011

Beth Aberth has had a problem with deer eating the vegetables out of her garden ever since she moved into her Rescue home in 2001. But she has discovered a hair-raising solution to her problem — she sprinkles her garden with human hair.

Every time she has a hair appointment, Aberth collects six to eight garbage bags full of recycled hair clippings from Salon Elite in Newport News. She sprinkles the clippings all over her garden to keep her veggies safe.

It might sound strange at first, but Aberth says it works great.

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“You never see a deer hoof mark in that garden,” she said.

Aberth has been gardening on and off for 20 years and was willing to try anything to keep Bambi and his friends from eating her squash, so she turned to hair.

The logic behind the folk remedy is that the animals stay away because of the human smell.

Of course, using hair means the tomatoes and peppers aren’t the only colorful things in her garden. A lot of the hair Aberth collects is dyed all different colors, including purple and pink, which makes for a rainbow of deer deterrent.

Wanda Gerard, the president of the Suffolk Master Gardeners Association, said she has heard of the hairy solution but doesn’t know anyone who uses it.

She said gardeners all have different methods for keeping pests out, and what works for one doesn’t always work for the next.

Additionally, Aberth said, the hair doesn’t help with other garden intruders, like rabbits and voles.

But if deer are a big problem for you, like they are for Aberth, hair might be the answer.

“If someone’s a really avid gardener, I’d be hitting the beauty shops,” Aberth said.

Like Salon Elite where Aberth gets her clippings, Hair by Cristina on Lee Farm Lane and Natural Image Salon on Bridge Road in Suffolk who collect hair to give to gardener-clients.

Natural Image stylist Jamie Payne said the salon has about five customers who come in to collect recycled hair.

“From what I hear it’s pretty effective,” Payne said. “I don’t think it’s a new concept.”

Cristina Bliss, the owner of Hair by Cristina, said even when she lived in New Jersey she had farmers constantly coming in to pick up hair for their fields.

“It really does work,” she said. “Animals can smell a human, and they are going to run.”

Hair is not the only thing Aberth uses in her garden to keep deer out; she also puts kitty litter on the edges and plants flowers deer do not like to eat such as black-eyed susans.

But she says hair is the key.

“You’d probably find lots of deer hooves around (my home), but you won’t see any in my garden,” she said.