Milorganite as a Deer Deterrent

Quick Tips

  • Research indicates the odor of Milorganite keeps deer away
  • Spread Milorganite around your plantings to deter deer
  • It is suggested Milorganite will deter deer up to 5 weeks

Research conducted at the University of Georgia suggests that Milorganite is a useful tool in repelling deer from grazing on food plots and ornamental plantings.

• Research indicates Milorganite's odor is effective in keeping deer from browsing plantings up to 5 weeks.
• Spread Milorganite around your plantings to deter deer.
• The study used an application rate of one half cup per plant and concluded that reduction of plant damage may improve if Milorganite is reapplied at day 14.

The common press has also published information stating Milorganite‘s efficacy as a common garden pest deterrent.

"It is widely agreed that scent-based repellents are an effective, albeit temporary deterrent to deer and certain other creatures. I was anxious to put my idea to the test using Milorganite, a natural, nitrogen based fertilizer that also has the reputation and added benefit of acting as a repellent to deer". "Controlling Deer in My Garden" by Joe Lamp'l Gardening Expert and Host of Growing a Greener World®

“There are some effective products that can keep deer out of your landscape up to 90 days. These products include Milorganite.”  Be ready for the return of bugs and critters by Denny McKeown. 

“If deer like to eat your plants, Rick Vuyst Garden Host and CEO of Flowerland Garden Centers says try setting out a bag of Milorganite. It is a deer deterrent. Cut a slit down the middle of the bag and leave it there over the winter. In spring, spread it around your hostas and that will keep the deer away and act as a natural fertilizer. 

Why is Milorganite not registered and marketed as a repellent?

In 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) biopesticides division required Milorganite to complete additional environmental and health tests, which would costs between $1-2 million and would take years to complete. These tests would not guarantee approval of the request to market Milorganite as a deer repellent.   Milorganite is owned and operated by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District; it was decided it was not in the best interest of the community to spend millions of dollars without a guaranteed return on investment.  Therefore, the use of Milorganite as an animal deterrent is an off-label use.