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story by claire schuchman oh deer! 46 mtl • june 2012 Work Smart—Not Just Hard Put up a fence  Mt. Lebanon ordinance does not permit us to erect a permanent fence tall enough to keep the deer from jumping into our yards, so why am I still talking about fences? With a bit of ingenuity, your 4-foot fence can help a lot. How? A 4-foot fence becomes a real barrier, if there are deer resistant shrubs planted all around the inside perimeter and your border is at least 8 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Why? Deer do not like to jump unless they can see clearly where they are going and perceive they have a good solid place to land. If you put a shrub barrier in place, chances are very good they will not jump your fence.   Vinyl netting deer fence is an option These sturdy, black vinyl netting fences have advantages. One of the most important to Mt. Lebanon residents is they are not consid- ered permanent, so no permit is necessary. They are practically invisible and fairly easy to install, because they are flexible and go right around a prize tree or shrub. The fencing comes in several heights. We used a 5-foot fence and sturdy “T” posts sunk at least 12 inches in the ground.  Research deer resistant plants An Internet search is the best place to do this; simply type in “deer resis- tant plants.” Be aware that success varies from region to region and even neighborhood to neighborhood. Choose plants that bloom on new growth like Hydrangea paniculata “Limelight,” hydrangea arborescens “Annabelle” and the newer cultivars of H Worsing ears ago when I was growing up on Altadena Drive, seeing a deer in Mt. Lebanon was unheard of. We would have marveled at such a thing. Truthfully, I am still amazed when I see the local herd making their way up the middle of our street. What are they doing here? When Mt. Lebanon was developed there were no deer because our forests had been clear cut for lumber, and the deer had no habitat.  In the ensuing years the picture has changed. The trees are mature; the shrubs in our landscape provide shelter, and our perennials provide food. The deer are back.  The damage to our gardens, cars and even our picture windows are a constant reminder that we share habitat with undomesticat- ed animals.  So what is the concerned, law abiding, Mt. Lebanon citizen to do? As an organic gardener, landscape designer and believer in sus- tainable agriculture, I consider it my sworn duty to learn viable ways to protect gardens from predators. I began several years ago to experiment with devices, systems, and plantings that would give my garden half a chance against a herd of one-ton, cloven- hoofed eating machines. I believe my experience can help my fellow Mt. Lebanonites fight the good fight.  So what’s the plan? First, admit wildlife is here to stay. Second, get out your arsenal of sprays, devices and deterrents. And third, think like a deer.