Do Deer Eat Watermelon?
Yes, deer definitely do eat watermelon! They enjoy the fruit inside of a melon and it will not harm deer.
The high water content in watermelon fruit makes it extremely tempting for hungry deer, as it can help them stay hydrated in order to maintain their energy levels.
Will Deer Eat Whole Watermelon Plants?
Deer can eat the leaves of the watermelon plant, but more commonly they will chow down on the ripe melon itself. They will often puncture the watermelon rind to get to the ripe fruit inside, but don’t usually eat the entire melon.
While they technically can eat the rind, there is usually enough watermelons around to feed on just the sweet fruit and juice inside.
Of course, this can ruin a harvest, and attract all kinds of other pests to the rest of the watermelon patch – which is not good news for you.
How to Keep Deer Out of the Garden
Since deer eat watermelons, you’re probably looking for good ways to keep them away from your garden.
1. Motion-Activated Sprinkler
Deer are known to be skittish, so hearing loud noises and seeing a lot of movement can scare them away. A motion-activated sprinkler can absolutely do the trick.
I’m putting this first because it’s my favorite option and a pretty reliable one.
Motion-activated sprinklers shoot water out when they detect motion in front of them. Since deer get startled by sudden movement and loud noises, as long as the sprinkler goes off they are going to be hightailing it out of there.
I tested it out and it works! Here is the motion-activated sprinkler in action in my garden:
A motion activated sprinkler works wonders for keeping animals (and people!) out of your yard. It sprays intermittently as it detects continuous motion so animals won't get used to the timing of it.
One of the best ways to protect your plants is to put up a fence around them. This will keep the deer out and allow the plants to grow without being eaten.
Deer can easily jump short fences, so if you’re going to go this route, you’ll want to put up a fence that is at least 7-8 feet tall.
A wireless deer fence can also help keep out animals like rabbits, raccoons, and more.
3. Garden or Deer Netting
It’s not called deer netting to keep out rabbits. 🙂
If the netting is setup the right way, it can keep deer out. But if you just set it up the same way you would a fence, they can easily jump it. It really should be placed overtop the garden, instead of as a fence.
4. Deer Repellent Sprays
This stuff is pretty gross, and no wonder rotten eggs work to keep deer out. The main ingredient in this popular spray is whole egg, followed by garlic and cloves. Gross, but those pungent smells really do help keep deer out.
5. Companion Planting
You can also use an age-old method of companion planting, which is essentially planting watermelons near other crops and vegetables that act as deer deterrents.
Some deer resistant plants include:
- Herbs like sage, rosemary, and dill
Deer are not fans of strong smells, and that’s exactly what garlic offers.
Fend Off Sticks have a strong garlic odor which is great as deer repellents
Here are some other deer resistant vegetables to try out including flowers, vegetables, and perennials.
6. Nylon Stockings with Soap
Got some extra Irish Spring soap laying around? Add it inside of a nylon stocking and hang it from a nearby tree branch. This scent is quite good at keeping deer out of the area.
7. Plastic Owl or Scarecrow
Placing a fake predator nearby can help keep the deer at least mindful of where they are. While this alone isn’t going to stop them from eating an entire watermelon, it will help discourage deer along with red cat eyes or strong odors.
Fake owls are great for keeping many animals out of the garden, including squirrels, deer, birds, and more.
8. Hot Pepper Spray
Similar to the deer repellent above, hot pepper sprays are great for keeping them out of your watermelon plants.
9. Get Rid of the Bird Bath
If you have a birdbath in your backyard or garden, deer can use it as a water source. Once they’re nearby, they’ll realize there is some free food nearby. Take away the water, and you can help ease some of the deer damage.
This video shows that this deer eats watermelon straight from a human!
Do Deer Eat Other Fruits & Vegetables?
Deer enjoy eating a lot of fruits, so watermelons aren’t the only ones you need to watch out for.
Make sure to keep young shoots of your watermelon plants protected as well. They won’t fare as well if they are eaten so early on in their lives.
Mature plants can make out a little bit better and recover, but growth can be slow.