trees not favored by deer

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by ginkgo nut, Feb 4, 2007.

  1. ginkgo nut

    ginkgo nut Member

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    I will soon be landscaping a property in the Pocono mtns., and I was wondering how some of my favorite trees would fare with roaming deer. Some trees that I was considering were pinus mugo, picea pungens, acer griseum, acer grosseri, acer rufinerve, acer tegmentosum, cornus kousa,cornus mas, and, of course, ginkgo biloba. Any thoughts or past experiences with this? Thank you.
     
  2. ginkgo nut

    ginkgo nut Member

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    trees not favored by deer- part 2

    Would it be realistic to build small cages around freshly planted trees? How wide and tall would they have to be? Would you use a plastic or metal fencing material?
     
  3. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: trees not favored by deer- part 2

    I've built a few of these around a few smaller trees, and while not especially attractive, so far they've worked quite well.
    I used 4 of those heavy metal posts (7 footers) that you pound into the ground with a special weighted tool, surrounded by lightweight deer netting (or bird netting) wrapped and tied to these. I placed the posts just far enough to allow for a few years growth, with the idea that once the main branches are above browsing height, the trees may have a better chance of survival. Of course, this will require gradual pruning of lower limbs, and may not be practical for all types of trees.
     
  4. ginkgo nut

    ginkgo nut Member

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    Re: trees not favored by deer- part 2

    Hey Gordo,

    Thank you. Just wondering what is the average browsing height? I know that nothing is foolproof...I've seen deer standing on their hind legs to get apples out of a tree in upstate N.Y.
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Depends on the species of deer, but not usually above about 1.2m for small deer, and 1.8m for large deer. Standing on their hind legs for browse is very unusual - either in desparation, or for a particularly favoured item (which apples would be, being much sweeter than anything else they get to eat).
     
  6. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Here , the deer browsing is a minor problem and a fence high enough to keep them out is likely the best solution. The worst damage is when they rub the velvet off their horns, seriously damaging the tree trunk from bark loss.
     
  7. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    Each winter mule deer eat all the leaves off my Gingko, and each spring they grow back. Fortunately they don't touch the young branches.

    I have individually caged young birches and cedars. Cumbersome but worth it.
    I bought a roll of stucco wire (stronger than chicken wire), and cut it in 5 foot wide sections, joining it into a cage form with wire. While plants were young, the cage needed a thin stick laid through the lowest wire section (horizontal on the ground), and then a couple of fairly heavy rocks placed on the 2" protrusion of the sticktip beyond the cage. It doesn't look pretty, but works. We were able to pick old sticks up at a planermill...they used them for spacing between boards to allow airflow while drying in kiln.

    As plants grew tall and bushy, I could dispense with the sticks and rocks. The plant held the cage in place.

    In the case of a very tall specimen, you'd have to join two cages together to make one tall one, which isn't easy, because it's often floppy and weak at the join, so takes more wire and an almost perfect shape to both cages. But I wouldn't want to have to do it for 100 trees. Good luck with yours.
     
  8. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Re: trees not favored by deer- part 2

    Don't leave your trampoline out either! haha.
    Cheers, LPN.
     
  9. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

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    It is impossible to say what deer will or will not eat. What they don't touch one winter, they may the next. Basically deer will eat anything if they are hungry enough. Also, their diet seems to vary greatly from one area to the next. Although I have deer, I have never had a problem with them browsing anything. I live in a heavily wooded area, so there seems to be plenty for them to eat without coming too near the house. I think that is the key. Plentiful berries, saplings, etc. will keep them at bay. You say the Poconos so I am assuming you will be in a wooded area. A clearing around the house may be all the protection you need.

    I know many people that swear by Irish Spring soap hung on the lower branches. I have not personally tried this, but I can tell you that I tried it in the house to discourage rodents. I was absolutely desperate. It DOES work for rodents. Perhaps that is worth a try if you are have problems.

    Fencing is difficult because of the height needed---minimum of 6', preferable 8'. The deer here are very small (white tail and undersized), but they can jump amazing distances and heights.
     
  10. Buckthorne

    Buckthorne Member

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    Not too long ago, I actually saw three deer on their hind legs around an old Thuya. A truly hideous sight, like minions from hell performing a dance of death around the May pole.

    The Thuya was only their appetizer, though. Later, under the cloak of darkness, they headed for the Tusga sargentii and turned it into a tooth pick. There's plenty of wood land around and there's a good clearing around our house but they come close to get at the turf grass. I often see patches where they've cleared the snow away with there hooves and grazed on frozen grass.

    I have had good luck with Milorganite and blood meal in the growing season. You just have to be careful applying them. They're very high in Nitrogen.
     
  11. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

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    Interesting that you get them close to the house. Here, they are very shy and prefer not to be anywhere near a house, unless it is an area that is more populated and they are more accustomed to humans. However, having said that, there are some open areas in the woods where grass is available, and I have indeed seen places in the woods not too far from the house where they have cleared away the snow. I planted a serviceberry 2 years ago in an area away from the house only to be told that they are a deer favourite. They have not touched it although they have been around it. I think this demonstrates just how unpredictable they are.
     
  12. Ralph Walton

    Ralph Walton Active Member 10 Years

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    Judging by the tracks here, they watch the house for just long enough to be sure it's not alive, then move right in and eat at leisure. I haven't (to my knowledge) had them on the elevated deck, but my neighbors have (and a cougar as well, but that's another story). They have preferrences, like growing vegetables and young Acer sprouts, but my Thuja also been trashed, and this (apart from the cougar) has not been a particularly hard winter for them.

    Ralph
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Not evil, just hungry. All variables eliminated by adequate fencing. Alert, determined dog also effective. Here they are tame and zero in on plantings, nibble them to nubbins or strip the bark in the midst of acres of lush native browse. Hardly any sign of them noticeable when walking through nearby natural vegetation, except for trails and tracks. Don't even see their pellets.

    Before I started chasing them with the Gator or throwing sticks I might see several in various locations in an evening. No problems before the dog died.
     
  14. Buckthorne

    Buckthorne Member

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    I refuse to be cowed in my moral assessment of deer. They are evil, evil, evil. Well, that is, of course, unless you are talking about venison, one of the few references to deer that brightens me up. Ummm, mincemeat pie with applesauce from the trees they DIDN'T eat.
     
  15. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Meanwhile some wild animals are having a meeting to discuss what to do about all the evil humans that are clearing away the forest.
     
  16. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    Before resorting to wire cages around valuable shrubs/trees, neighbours had suggested (and we tried) the following: mothballs scattered at the base of trees (didn't work, the magpies flew off with them within a week), a transistor radio in a plastic bag (turned to Rap music...albeit quietly), hung in a tree (somebody said they saw them dancin'...), dog hair hung from branches (seemed to bother the dog, he kept looking up the trees at his hair), someone suggested we should buy cougar-pheromone (never did locate any of that).

    And my least favorite: human urine. I won't explain either the process or the results, but deer are still here.

    But after all that (years) most of the trees survived and grew tall enough that the odd rub or browse hasn't done much damage. The ginkgo's leaves get eaten off each fall, before they can fall off. But the cedar hedges are an ongoing problem. Some winters very little damage; other years if the cages aren't placed by end-Oct., one can virtually see through the cedar hedge 5 feet and lower a month later. Wonder why deer have such a taste for cedar...guess the tannin is tasty!
     
  17. pinenut

    pinenut Active Member 10 Years

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    What's a deer tag cost where you are?
    Carl
     
  18. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    Pic shows we reinstalled cages a little late...but they work well.
     

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  19. ginkgo nut

    ginkgo nut Member

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    O.K.
    Planted the ginkgos...the deer enjoyed them!!! Its not even winter. I saw the perp. too...young buck. He ate most of the leaves off of one tree, but only one branch of the other. But here is something interesting. I put our old folding baby gate around the tree to try to protect it temporarily, and when the perp came back for second breakfast, it stopped him in his tracks. It really freaked him out! He came up to it very slowly and sniffed it, and as soon as he did that , he turned and ran! (high tail). Must have been the dried up puke on it hahaha...
     
  20. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    oh that's so funny!
    Anything that "smells" CAN deter deer; you've obviously found the right ingredient.
    Maybe dirty diapers would work better!
    Cheers.
     

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