Use old CD’s to keep deer & rabbits away, plus more tips on garden pests

CD's to keep deer away in Amherst NY
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

When it comes to dealing with pests such as deer and rabbits, the bad news is that there is no single technique that works all the time. The good news is that there are lots and lots of things you can try.

When I speak to gardening groups, I get a chance to talk with gardeners, and they’re happy to share what works for them. I’m always coming across new ideas on how to deal with pests.

Dryer sheets

The main thing I’ve learned is that dryer sheets seem to deter all kinds of pests. We told you before that you can use twist ties to attach dryer sheets to bamboo sticks to keep deer and rabbits out of your garden.

A gardener suggested slipping dryer sheets under the straps of a tank top to keep bees away. Along the same line, recently another gardener suggested putting dryer sheets under your hat to keep black flies away.

Still another gardener had a problem with mice in his garage. They made a nest in his tiller and were gnawing at the equipment. He put dryer sheets in the housing and that kept the mice away.


Another tip suggested by a gardener was to plant marigolds to stop bugs. According to Cornell Cooperative Extension, the roots of some French marigolds and African marigolds contain a substance that is toxic to certain types of nematodes. Nematodes are soil-inhabiting microscopic roundworms that damage many species of plants. Certain nematodes can be eliminated from a site by growing a thick crop of marigolds for one season prior to planting the vegetable or fruit crop, or by interplanting marigolds between crop rows.

According to folklore, marigolds (as well as mint, thyme and chamomile) may repel cabbage moths, according to Cornell.

I’ve had problems with carpenter ants at my house and the exterminator suggests planting marigolds to help keep the carpenter ants away. I haven’t been diligent enough about planting marigolds to tell you whether it works or whether it doesn’t, but I think they’re pretty and I love how they smell, so I’m planning on planting them this year.

CD’s and DVD’s to repel deer

Pictured is a technique to keep deer away. This technique also gives you a way to reuse old CD’s and DVD’s. You can also use aluminum foil pie plates in the same way.

Hang them from a fence and let them rotate freely in the breeze. The sun glinting off the disc or aluminum foil is supposed to make the deer uneasy. If you don’t have a fence, you could try hanging them in a tree or from a shepherd’s hook.

I used colored ribbon to make it look pretty. If you just drape the loop of ribbon over the fence, they might blow off. Try tying them to a nail.

More tips to discourage deer

Here are some more tips that that gardeners shared with me to help prevent deer from eating your garden plants.

  • Rope off your garden or yard with pink surveyor’s tape. This stuff is florescent pink and quivers in the breeze. Again, the deer don’t seem to like the movement.
  • Use clear fishing line around areas that are bothered by deer. They don’t see the line and don’t like brushing up against it.

8 Comments on “Use old CD’s to keep deer & rabbits away, plus more tips on garden pests

  1. A garden shop employee told me her Grandfather hung his work shirt in his garden every night and never had deer problems. Easy and no expense!!

  2. James, we need to be safe with firearms.

    Remember that you can’t shoot with a shotgun within 500 feet of your neighbors’ houses, unless you get permission from those neighbors.

    Here are some of the rules regarding the shooting with a firearm, which includes shotguns:
    It is illegal to discharge a firearm
    • so that the load passes over any part of a public highway,
    • within 500 feet of any school, playground, or an occupied factory or church,
    • within 500 feet of a dwelling, farm building or structure in occupation or use unless you own it, lease it, are an immediate member of the family, an employee, or have the owner’s consent.

    Also, there is a squirrel hunting season in New York State. See details here and get general information here.

  3. Does anyone have suggestions for deterring squirrels? Every year my friendly neighborhood squirrel gets in my garden eats my tomatoes. He even actually brings them up on my porch sometimes and leaves the peels and uneaten portions laying there. It’s very frustrating that he picks my fruit before I can even get out there!

  4. Donna is correct on Deer becoming acclimated to deterrents. Best to rotate different ones throughout the season. As for dryer sheets, they are loaded with nasty chemicals which can leach into the soil. A better deterrent (and one that I have found works throughout the growing season) is inter-planting fragrant herbs among the specimens that are a draw. It accomplishes the same thing as dryer sheets, won’t harm the environment and will aid our increasingly impacted pollinators. Rosemary, Lavender, Tarragon and Oregano are especially effective. Bonus – you can harvest the herbs for your own use. Curry plant is also a great deterrent (but not recommended for our own use in culinary preparations).

  5. Deer and rabbits are determined when hungry and often get accustomed to deterrents. I have heard dryer sheets seem to work, but never tried them myself on rabbits.

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