Growing tomatoes is one of my favorite things to do, but I found five of my Roma tomato plants eaten almost to the ground one day.
It took me a little while to figure out whether it was deer or rabbits eating my tomatoes.
My next step was to find out what was eating my tomatoes and how to prevent it.
Tomatoes off the vine are eaten by deer?
Tomatoes are eaten right off the vine, as well as the tomato plant itself, by deer. And they’re not the only animals that enjoy tomatoes off the vine!
A deer needs a lot of food to stay healthy, so they eat a wide variety of foods, including tomatoes.
How Do Deer Eat?
Often, deer eat bushes, plants, fruit trees, nuts, and acorns as herbivores.
In addition to tomatoes, deer also enjoy peppers, squash, cucumbers, beet greens, beans, grapes, and strawberries.
In addition to those fruits, they eat almost any leaf in the garden, including beet greens, cabbage, broccoli greens, and sunflower greens.
Tomato plants are eaten by deer?
There is no doubt that deer are capable of eating tomatoes. They also eat the leaves and stems of tomato plants, but they do not like the fruit itself.
There are a few ways you can prevent deer from eating your vegetable plants if you live in an area where deer are abundant.
What is the distance deer travel for food?
The deer travel anywhere from a half mile to a mile to eat every day, so even if you don’t live close to the woods, you might find deer on your property.
Tomatoes or other plants in your garden might just be what they stumble across.
What does a deer eat on a daily basis?
Each day, a deer can consume up to 8% of its body weight.
During the spring, a 160-pound deer can consume 10-12 pounds of food per day, but during the winter, they can consume only 4-5 pounds.
It’s a lot of food – and a good reason to protect your garden plants.
Tomato Plants: How to Keep Deer Away
By covering your tomato plants with netting, you can keep those deer from eating them. You may also want to add some kind of chemical spray that will keep them away from your plants.
You can keep them away with soap on a string – Irish spring soap has a very pungent scent that can keep them away.
Sprinklers that are activated by motion
I use this method to keep deer, squirrels, birds, and other animals away from my tomatoes.
The following video shows me testing the sprinkler in front of my raised bed:
When deer are skittish, loud noises and lots of movement can scare them away. Motion-activated sprinklers can definitely deter them.
Set up a trail cam to watch all the animals running away from your garden as fast as they can
- The deer
- The fox
- The raccoon
- The coyote
- The skunk
- The cats
Netting for gardens or deer
Rabbit netting isn’t called deer netting.
If the netting is set up correctly, it can keep deer out. However, if you simply set it up like a fence, they can easily jump over it. It should be placed overtop the garden, rather than as a fence.
Sprays that repel deer
Whole eggs, garlic, and cloves are the main ingredients in this popular spray. This stuff is gross, but it really works to keep deer away.
Soap-infused nylon stockings
Put some Irish Spring soap inside a nylon stocking and hang it from a nearby tree branch. This scent keeps deer away.
Planting companion plants
The age-old method of companion planting can also be used, which is to plant crops and vegetables that deter deer.
Plants that are deer-resistant include
- The garlic clove
- The daffodils
- The lavender scent
- Sage comes in a variety of forms
- The poppies
- Garlic offers a strong smell that deer are not fond of.
- Garlic odor fends off sticks
- Other deer-resistant plants include flowers, vegetables, and perennials.
- Plastic scarecrows or owls
- Sculpture of an owl scarecrow made of plastic
You can use fake owls to deter squirrels, deer, birds, and other animals from entering your garden.
You’ll need a wire fence at least 7-8 feet high if you plan to go this route because deer can easily jump short fences.
To protect your vegetable garden and tomato plants, you can also invest in an electric fence.
Rabbits, raccoons, and other animals are also kept out by fences.
Spray with hot peppers
Hot pepper sprays are great for keeping deer out of tomato patches, just like the deer repellent above.
The smell of urine is a predatory marker, so having your dog or a human do their business in your garden can be beneficial.
Get rid of the bird bath in the garden
Once birds realize that there is food nearby, they will try to use your birdbath as a water source. If you remove the water from your garden, you can ease some of the destruction. You can use a birdbath to keep birds from eating your tomatoes, even if you’re struggling with them.
It was a surprise to find that five of my Roma tomato plants had been eaten almost to the ground one day.
It took me a while to figure out if it was deer or rabbits that were eating my tomatoes. I decided to build a fence to keep them out.
In order to prevent my tomatoes from being eaten, I went on a hunt to find out what was eating them.
Tomatoes off the vine are eaten by deer?
How Do Deer Eat?
Herbivorous deer often eat bushes, plants, fruit trees, and nuts and acorns.
In addition to tomatoes, deer also eat peppers, squash, cucumbers, beet greens, beans, grapes, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables.
Deer travel far to find food
Even if you don’t live near the woods, if they’re pretty close, deer may visit your property looking for food.
Tomatoes or other plants in your garden might just be the thing they stumble upon.
What do deer eat on a daily basis?
Every day, a deer can consume between 6 and 8% of its body weight.
A 160-pound deer can consume 10-12 pounds of food per day in the spring, but they can still consume between 4-5 pounds in the winter.
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