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Does Neem Oil Keep Deer Away? (Explained)

Deer might be an innocent animal. But if this animal visits your favorite garden regularly and makes a mess out of it, you might not be a fan of the animal. You may try different methods to defend your yard from deer, and you can find many suggestions online.

Among all the tips and suggestions, you might have noticed the mention of using neem oil to prevent deer in your area. But is that effective or worth trying?

We will answer this query while explaining what keeps deer away and how to keep your yard deer-free.

Does neem oil keep deer away?

Neem oil isn’t the best thing to keep deer away. But since neem has a strong aromatic presence, it can cause discomfort to a deer. Deer heavily depend on scents and will be less attracted to the premises if applied. And if they reach, neem oil will burn their sensitive noses to repel them.

Neem is a popular herb, originated from the Indian sub-continent. The plant is bitter in taste, strong in smell, and has lots of herbal benefits. Neem tree produces oil and many neem-based products that are useful for human needs.

Neem produces a strong aroma that is famous for its healing attribute. Insects such as mosquitoes, fruit fly and bugs are easily deterred within neem’s aromatic presence. The smell can drive unwanted guests away.

Many plant neem trees in their backyard and garden for their herbal benefits. It is a natural mosquito and insect repellent. And can keep your garden safe from unpleasant animal visits.

Deer is a very smell-sensitive animal. They look for their food by smell. The attractive smell can lead them to food, and an unattractive smell can turn them away.

Deer’s olfactory nerve is very sensitive. Bitter scents such as neem can create an inhospitable aura that will definitely keep them away. Even many other herbs such as marigold, thyme, and mints work great to repel deer.

However, if neem oil is applied in shrubs and a deer enter the premises, it will taste bitterness from neem oil and will be discouraged to stay in that place. And the strong scent of neem infused with capsaicin will deter the deer immediately.

Although there is little scientific evidence of neem oil being the most effective repellent for deers, practically it works great to deter deer and protect gardens. But there are cheaper and more effective options available to deter a deer.

3 reasons why neem oil keep deer away

Neem oil has a strong aroma. It is sharp and vivid. Neem is bitter in taste.

There are many herbal benefits of neem that are commonly believed. It is also a natural repellant and can repel a lot of insects and animals. Neem oil can keep deer away.

Here are the 3 reasons why neem oil keeps deer away:

Strong fragrance:

Deer has a highly sensitive olfactory nerve. They use this as a strength to collect food. They can smell an object for a long distance.

On the other hand, Neem has a very strong fragrance. Many animals including deer, find it very unattractive. Smelling the unpleasant smell of neem oil can keep deer away.

Bitter taste:

Besides having a strong fragrance, neem oil is bitter in taste. If this neem oil is applied to different shrubs and bushes it will create an unpleasant taste.

Bitter tastes will keep deer away. They will unlikely return once they experience unpleasant taste.


This is a component of neem oil, which is slightly harmful to fish and other aquatic animals. It is not particularly toxic to mammals and animals on land.

Although Azadritachtin is famous as an insect repellent, this chemical can successfully keep animals such as deer away.

How to use neem oil to keep deer away?

There are certainly many effective methods that can help to keep deer away from your garden. But if you want something that’s organic and easy to get then we’d suggest you give neem oil a try.

Neem oil, when used correctly can protect your garden from deer to some extent. So follow these steps to use neem oil to deter the deer.

Choose the quality oil:

Since neem oil’s smell and taste play a great role in keeping deer away, you have to make sure the oil you’re using has pure neem in it and is rich in flavor. Otherwise, it won’t affect any animal.

Follow the recipe:

Mix the oil with other carrier liquid such as vinegar or capsaicin to make it more bitter and smelly for the deer. So put neem oil with white vinegar or capsaicin in the ratio of 2:1 and mix it well.  

You can mix garlic or any other strong herb well to create a strong aroma.

Spray the mixture:

Spray the mixture in the evening onto bushes and also onto the plants around the fence or border. This will diffuse the smell around and make the outer layers of the plants bitter in taste. 

Thus the deer won’t get close to the garden or destroy it.

Store it properly:

The mixture should be kept in a cool and dry place so that you can use it a couple of times.

What essential oils do deer not like?

Essential oils are a great source of strong and natural fragrances. Deer is a very smell-sensitive animal. So unpleasant scents can turn them away.

For this, many people use different essential oils, essences and even plant trees to keep their garden and yard out of uninvited guests. Many scents and smells can keep deer away-


Marigold has a strong and pungent fragrance. All types of marigolds are a turnoff for deers. Signet marigolds are popular in culinary use because of their bland smells and citrusy flavor. And its strong scent can effectively deter browsing deer.

Putrescent Egg Solids:

Putrescent egg solid is one of the most effective deer repellents. This quite simply smells like rotten eggs- to be precise egg mixed with water and dried in sun. If used with garlic oil keep deer away from your garden for a long time.


Mint has a strong aromatic presence. This herb has different types such as Peppermint, Spearmint, Pennyroyal, Water mint, Apple mint, Wild mint, Water mint. 

All of them are effective but peppermint and spearmint generally have the most potent scent oil that can be most effective to keep deer away.


Tansy is a flower pant with a tansy smell.  It is mainly found in Asia and North America


Garlic oil is one of the best ways to stop deer. For this, you have to infuse garlic oil with other essential oils to form a strong concentration.

What animals does neem oil repel?

Neem oil and neem-based products are organic and non-toxic yet safe for humans, birds, and animals. Neem oil produces a strong aroma that repels many insects and animals but does not interrupt pollination.

Neem oil repels and keeps the garden free from pests like mites, aphids, whiteflies, snails, slugs, nematodes, mealybugs, cabbage worms, gnats, roaches, flies, termites, and mosquitos.

Neem oil has slight toxicity that fishes and other aquatic organisms face. A component of neem oil, named Azadirachtin, is somewhat toxic towards fish and some other marine animals.

Neem oil is not toxic to birds, mammals, bees, and plants. Especially you can find on many neem oil labels that insects like predatory wasps, honeybees, earthworms, spiders, ladybugs, butterflies, and other good bugs are benefited from neem oil.

However, the strong scent of neem oil can repel animals such as deer, bears, and wild hogs.

Final thoughts

Neem oil is not highly effective to deter deer when compared to other methods. However, they are a natural repellant and have a strong scent, neem oil can discourage deer from entering applied premises. But there are other effective and cost-efficient ways available to keep deer out.