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January 22, 2021 3 min read

Do deer eat jack pines? Deer will eat almost anything to survive. So you might have questions about the right trees that they will rarely eat.

When you have a high deer population, getting to understand deer nutrition is a must. There’s nothing more awful than having those four-legged ‘majestic’ creatures mow your hard work to the ground due to lack of planning. If you are considering cultivating pine trees, then you should ask – what pine trees do deer eat? Do deer eat jack pine?

Jack Pines as deer nutrition

Deer do not eat jack pines, at least not when they are older. However, deer, especially the white-tailed deer will feast on saplings and young trees. In reality, these small needled trees make good winter forage as the young shoots most likely appear then.

Nevertheless, deer will still preferably go for the white pine before any other pine tree including the jack pine. However, the jack pine fairs pretty high on the eating scale, and some hunters use its young stands to provide fair deer food.

New buds and shoots of all browse plants are enriched with protein, and so preferable. But if the deer can find other high-quality buds, the pine needles may be left alone.

Deer diet consists of browse, grasses, and forbs and pine needles fall within the browse category. During the winter, deer will most likely seek out the pine trees because other higher quality food sources will not be available. Deer can also eat from pine trees such as the jack pine if there is a deer overpopulation issue.

What other ways can deer cause damage to the jack pine

One problem you should worry about as your jack pines grow older is deer rubbing. Deer will most likely rub their antlers and buck against the trunk of a tree, which damages the tree’s vascular system. If this practice continues, it might kill the tree. Therefore, you need to protect your jack pines from deer rub problems. Here are some ways you can keep deer away from your jack pines:

Use repellent sprays

Repellent sprays can provide a protective layer that prevents deer from rubbing or eating from your jack pines. Deer repellents for deer rub issues work by emitting scents that deter them from coming closer. However, you should alternate between two or three repellents to keep them from getting familiar with the repellents. You might also consider spraying occasionally especially after it rains.

Install tree guards

Wrapping chicken wire or any other plastic tree guard is also a great way to protect the tree trunk. You can purchase tree guards made of mesh plastic netting or vinyl spiral for this purpose. Whichever you choose, make sure it fits around the tree properly and stands as high as possible. Ensure you pick a plastic guard that is light or white in color, so the guard does not create heat from the sun against the tree trunk.

Use deer fencing

Fencing is the most reliable solution for deer problems. Ensure your fence is as high as 8 to 10ft to keep them from jumping over. Your fence should also reach the ground entirely so they are not encouraged to try crawling from underneath.

Concluding thoughts

Do deer eat jack pines? Yes, they do, especially the saplings and young trees. Deer can also cause more damage to mature jack pines by rubbing against them. Consider using repellent sprays and individual tree guard protection to discourage such habits. If you can, installing a fence will provide more adequate protection against deer problems.

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