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May 22, 2020 3 min read

If you are growing white pines, then you may have questions such as do deer eat white pines? Sure, they do, but there are effective ways to keep them away from your white pines. White pines (Pinus Strobus) is a gorgeous tree commonly found in Eastern North America from Minnesota to Manitoba, the Great Lakes region, and Newfoundland. It has many uses, including food, medicines, lumber, and of course, the Christmas Tree. However, cultivating this tree requires a lot of dedication and commitment. One of the problems you may have to deal with is deer. So, if you are wondering about the question – do deer eat white pines? Yes, they do and in all phases.

Deer and Pine Damage

Deer love to nibble on young and tender foliage of thousands of trees and plants. Still, deer prefer some more than others, and White pine is also one of most desirable at the early stage. As they grow older, deer may preferably not use them as feeding sources. Still, the white-tailed deer may spend a lot of time near pine trees as their favorite sheltering place. Therefore, they can also cause damage by rubbing their antlers against the bark, causing wounds that may kill the tree. Feeding is less damaging than the effects of rubbing. However, if it is simply about feeding on mature white pines, the occasional nibble may not kill the trees. Furthermore, small or weak white pine trees may not recover from the damage caused by deer feeding.

Protecting Against Deer

To keep the deer away from the buds of your white pines, consider using bud caps, fencing, or repellents.

Using Bud caps

A bud cap is a lightweight paper (4 by 6 inches) folded in half and stapled around the bud of the tree. You may need at least three staples, alongside needles to hold the paper in place. Use bud-capping before the snow covers the ground during fall. In the next growing season, the trees will grow through the paper, so you don’t have to worry about removal. However, you need to continue reapplying every year until your tree is out of reach for the deer (over four feet tall).

Inspect consistently

White pine trees are simply not something you can cultivate and walk away. You must occasionally inspect (even when mature), to ascertain the health of your trees. Inspect from time to time to determine the extent of browsing and whether the problem perseveres in high numbers. For instance, did the deer remove protective bud caps or chew off the tallest, central stem or lateral branches. If you also have few sparse needles on seedling, then you have to replace them since the extent of damage is already great. However, if the needles are abundant, then your tree may grow properly, but you need to inspect regularly.

Individual fence

If the deer problem is too severe, then bud caps will not be enough. In this case, you should consider fencing seedlings. Nevertheless, this is both capital and labor-intensive, so you should consider your options carefully.
Using other plants

You can also consider hiding your plant seedlings in young aspen or shrubs. However, always use this alongside bud caps and deer repellents.
In general, the answer to the issue – do deer eat white pines – is yes. Deer can even cause damage to the white pine tree preventing it from reaching full maturity. Take steps early enough to reduce the deer problem and avert the damage. Always remember that keeping deer away is a long-term issue and needs a lot of commitment.