Tree Protection Options That Deer Hate

If you notice the top of your tree has been chewed off or if new branches have been chewed on, there is a good chance that your newly growing tree has been targeted by a deer. Deer are the most likely to target trees during a very brutal winter when they often chew the bark off. Here are three ways to protect your trees from deer:

Choose Plants That Aren't Desirable To Deer

If you haven't chosen and planted a tree yet, or if you have space around a tree that you intend to protect, you could place a plant that is not palatable to deer. These include pines, hemlocks, junipers, spruces, firs and cleome. Choose plants that are native because they will require less maintenance to grow in your area. However, using native plants will limit your options.

Erect Barriers Around Your Tree

Barriers placed around your tree will often be overkill and will not protect your trees from animals other than deer. The fences require maintenance and they may not be aesthetically pleasing. However, if your trees are frequently targeted by deer, a 10-foot-tall fence can keep them out. Another approach is to build a smaller cage around the tree. The cage must be large enough and have small enough holes that the deer can't reach their heads inside to chew on the tree. The cages can be made using chicken wire. You may need to expand the cage as the tree grows.

Apply Homemade Deer Repellent

Deer repellent is another solution, though only a temporary one. Contact repellents taste horrible for the deer, deterring it from chewing. Unfortunately, male deer will often rub their antlers on trees and the contact repellent will not deter them. To protect trees from deer with antlers, use tree protectors. These are tubes that prevent the deer from rubbing the tree.

Smells that repel deer include soap. Take pieces of deodorant and place them inside partially-opened bags so they can release a scent that will deter deer. Coffee, dryer sheets and blood meal can also deter deer.

Purchase Commercial Deer Repellents

If the homemade repellent smells do not deter the deer, commercial repellents might be stronger. Hot pepper wax not only deters deer, but also mice, voles and rabbits. The downside of deer repellent is that many deer become accustomed to the repellent and begin to ignore it. However, when combined with other approaches, you may be able to prevent deer from chewing on your trees. Contact a professional, such as Pioneer Tree & Landscape, Inc., for more information. 

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