My problem, among others, is the deer. They have a well-traveled trail that runs across my garden. Fauns nest in the woods just 30 feet from our patio, and by early July all the hostas, with their glorious foliage and often fragrant flowers, are nibbled to nubs.
So I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to test Dalen’s Deer-X® deer fencing.
Five packages of 7’ x 100’ netting arrived on my doorstep.
When I opened one of the packages, I was disappointed to realize that the netting is thin, not the more robust plastic mesh I’ve seen in other deer fence material. On the left is the sturdier material I was expecting. On the right is the Dalen Deer-X net.
For Fencing or to Drape Over Plants?
Dalen touts the product for both fencing and netting to drape over shrubs.
It is an excellent product for protecting shrubs and other plants, especially during the winter months when you’re less likely to be in the garden and the deer are hungry and more aggressively looking for something to eat.
Be aware that the netting is very fine and gets easily tangled on itself and snags on anything in the way. Draping it over even small shrubs is definitely a two-person job.
However, my doubts that the material is strong enough to work as a deer fence made me unwilling to invest the time and additional materials (support posts, zip ties, garden staples) required to build a deer fence to encircle a ½-acre garden.
My skepticism regarding its suitability for fencing material was inflamed by the caveat on the enclosed instruction sheet: “For Best Results – Deer-X® features U-V inhibitors which can extend netting life for more than one season. For repeated use, store indoors or away from sunlight as soon as harvest protection is no longer needed.”
People who have used the product for fencing complain that the plastic became brittle after two years.
Deer are active all year, and are just as happy to graze on your garden in the winter months as during the growing season. It takes a lot of work to build the fence; it’s not something you would want to disassemble and reassemble twice a year, unless perhaps, it encircles a small vegetable plot. In most cases, a deer fence is for all seasons.
Another concern about the suitability of this product for fencing is the fact that the net is only 7’ tall. The minimum fence height recommended to keep deer out is 8 feet. Anything less they can easily make a vertical leap over. The instruction sheet suggests, “To create an 8-foot fence with 7 feet high net, elevate 1 foot from the ground and secure at bottom with wire attached to posts (fence must be taut to prevent deer from pushing under it).”
I don’t agree. As I learned from a friend who has had a net deer fence for two years and has studied the deer’s behavior patterns, deer are perfectly capable of crawling underneath a fence with a 1-foot (or less) gap. They also are willing to push themselves through a fence that’s not strong enough to withstand their weight and force.
Specifications and Features
- 3/4″ black polypropylene mesh with U-V inhibitors
- Comes in 7’ x 100’, 7’ x 500’, 7’ x 1000’, and 14′ x 75′ packages
- 90-day warranty and money-back guarantee
- Made in the USA with recycled materials
For Draping Over Shrubbery & Other Plants – One package will cover a lot of shrubs, and the ¾” fine black netting is discrete, blending well into the foliage. The thin, fine quality of the material is the feature that earns it a 5-shovel rating as a draped protection for shrubs and other plants.
For Deer Fencing – The material is too lightweight to effectively deter deer from crashing through (they will) and too short to stop the deer from either jumping over or creeping underneath (they will). The fact that the manufacturer recommends storing the material indoors away from sunlight after the harvest season confirmed my doubts regarding its suitability for anything but a 3-season vegetable garden fence since deer are actively grazing all year long.
Where to Buy
Dalen Deer-X® Deer Fencing (7’ x 100’) is available at garden centers, retailing for $27.40, and through Amazon for $18.11 plus shipping.
[Editor’s Note] Dalen also makes a bird netting (Bird-X) when has exactly the same specifications, other than the size of the net. It’s not clear whether these are the same products with different labels or if there are real differences.
Now over to you – Have you tried deer fencing before? What did you use and how did it work? Let us know in the comments below!