Farming Advice: Hair as Deer Repellent, Making Insulation From Newspapers and Denim Furniture

Farming advice from MOTHER and her readers, including using hair as deer repellent in the garden, making insulation from newspapers to insulate your home and using denim as sturdy furniture covers.

| October/November 1997

MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers share their farming advice, fun tips and country folklore, including hair as a deer repellent, making home insulation from newspapers and using old denim to cover furniture. 

Hairy Solution

I have an idea that has finally proved able to keep deer away from our orchard. Now, I have no problem with them taking a snack, but since they don't pitch in on a great deal of the work, well . . . . The dilemma has always been that we do enjoy them on the property and like to watch them drink from the pond during breakfast in the early morning. After having very little success, we "accidentally" stumbled across an idea of using hair as a deer repellent that protects the trees and permits the deer to wander around. It works, costs next to nothing, and doesn't use chemicals or pesticides.

Our dwarf apple trees are treated to a thin layer of compost every so often. Since our compost is an amalgamation of almost everything, our son at one point added the refuse of hair clippings to it after one of our monthly Saturday "haircuts en masse" rituals. Though I won't vouch for their compostability, we did find that deer would not go near the compost with hair in it. We think the oils or the smell or something has to do with it but haven't honestly researched it much. Lots of rain or heavy wind will disperse the hair, so now we go to our local barber, who has expressed nothing but the highest spirit of cooperation in supplying us with all the hair we want to bag and haul off.

Additionally, in later fall when stores are almost giving away their unsold trees, we bought three "deer apple trees" and planted them away from the orchard towards the back our property because our son thought they deserved some, too. It works great for our family, and we wanted to share it with other readers who might benefit as well from our accidental discovery.

—Jacquelyn, Maria, Nicholas, and Ron Carpenter
Lawton, OK

Just Tie a Yellow Ribbon

A customer told me she tied a big bow on top of her birdfeeder for a Christmas decoration and discovered it repelled the squirrels. So I put a bow atop my feeder, and sure enough, they come down the wire as far as the bow and then turn right around and leave. Of course, the feeder has to be placed so they can't jump on it from below.

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