Do Deer Eat Watermelon? (11+ Ways to Keep Them Out of the Garden)

Growing watermelon can be such a rewarding experience – you get to eat fresh melon, but also share with friends. However, these fresh fruits are also enjoyed by wild animals and other critters.

Do Deer Eat Watermelon?

Yes, deer definitely do eat watermelon! They enjoy the sweet fruit inside of a melon and the fruit will not harm deer.

Deer have an incredibly strong sense of smell, which allows them to locate and pick out individual pieces of fruit in even the densest orchards. When it comes to juicy treats like watermelon, these majestic animals are more than happy to indulge.

The high water content in watermelon fruit makes it extremely satisfying for hungry deer, who need to stay hydrated in order to maintain their energy levels when foraging for food outdoors.

Will Deer Eat Whole Watermelon Plants?

Deer will 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, or even the rest of the local deer population, to the watermelon patch if the deer don’t get to them.

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 skiddish, so hearing loud noises and seeing a lot of movement can scare them away. A motion-activated sprinkler can absolutely do the trick.

Make sure you setup a trail cam to watch all the animals run as fast as they can away from your garden πŸ™‚

The Garden Enforcer - Motion Activated Sprinkler

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.

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2. Fencing

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. πŸ™‚

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:

  • Garlic
  • Daffodils
  • Lavender
  • 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.

Plastic Owl Scarecrow Sculpture

Fake owls are great for keeping many animals out of the garden, including squirrels, deer, birds, and more.

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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.

Deer eat bananas, apples, carrots, sunflowers, and even root vegetables.

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.

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Hi - I'm Chenell! I'm on a mission to learn how to grow my own food, and help other people do the same.

I lived in the city for almost a decade, but after moving to the suburbs, I started making my Iowa blood proud and growing all kinds of food 🌽 I started this website to help keep track of the journey while teaching others the mistakes and things I'm learning along the way. You can follow along with the journey and learn more here.

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