Do deer eat trees?
If you’ve ever experienced an invasion of deer on your garden or farm, then you know how much of a voracious eater they are. While deer might be pleasing to the eyes, they wreak havoc on gardens. With their large appetite that gets even larger come winter, deer can wreak serious havoc to trees with their feeding habit. Deer eat a variety of plants and trees are not an exception.
They enjoy eating the winter foliage of evergreen trees and shrubs, the bark of young trees, twigs, fruits and buds, as long as they can eat it. Essentially, trees can serve as a free for all buffet for the deer and with their long legs, access is not a problem. A particularly determined deer can reach about 7 feet high while standing on its hind legs just to browse in trees and select something worthy for its dinner.
What trees do they eat more?
A more compelling target for them is young trees that are well fertilized and have new, juicy growth. They will be all over trees like white on rice thereby compromising the growth of the new trees. You can imagine that your baby trees won’t live very long or have compromised growth if you let the deer come to feed every day.
How to stop deer from eating trees?
Prevention they say is better than a cure. That been said, it is much easier to prevent deer from turning your trees into an all you can eat buffet than to stop them once they have picked up the habit. Deer are very persistent and will usually come back once they are used to feeding on your trees if there is nothing to deter them.
However, if you didn’t put in any preventive measure, early detection and immediate action can save your trees.
Plant Deer Resistant Plants
Deer are picky eaters and will naturally give a few trees a wide berth. However, they might throw caution to the wind when they get famished, but for the most part, planting these trees will keep them away.
This is probably the most effective way to keep deer away if done right. Fencing is however expensive, depending on the type of fence you go with, but in the long run, it just might be worth the cost. Your fence must be high enough that the deer can’t reach your trees, or even leap across to reach it.
Apply scents that will prevent the deer from feeding on your trees such as predator urine, or condition them with a repellent that leaves them feeling funny after eating from a tree so that they don’t return. Repellents proffer a short term solution, and you have to constantly change the repellants you use so they don’t get used to it.
The University of Minnesota Extension offers in-depth knowledge on how to protect deer from eating your tree.