Deer herbivory protection for young conifers

wisconsitomApril 28, 2014

I'm looking for input on what has worked to keep deer off young white cedar (Thuja occidentalis), at least long enough for them to get their heads out of reach of the deer's mouths. I also need this to be inexpensive and not too obtrusive-looking.

This is not for my tree farm-those cedar are never-and I do mean never-impacted by the numerous deer that live around there. No, this is for my work wherein we're trying to establish small groves of formerly more numerous "swamp conifer" species, along with other wetland woodies like red twigged dogwood, etc. in what I'm calling pods. So in other words, the n. white cedar, the red twigs, and tamarack trees, are being grouped together hither and yon in pockets.

We've already settled on steel T-posts strung with nothing more than twine, probably at one-foot intervals. I know deer "can" easily overcome this. I'm interested in seeing if they will do so. IOWs, looking for just the bare minimum technique required to dissuade them browsing on these trees (haven't touched the tamaracks yet) while they slowly attain some size.

This is quite ambitious. All anomalies like my land up north aside, Thuja o. is widely held to be imperiled in this and other northern states with the unnaturally high deer populations of these times. I've seen plants destryed overnight more times than I care to recount. But then too, I have read of folks achieving success by surprisingly simple means. That's the kind of thing I'm looking for. I know if we erected a twelve-foot fence topped with barbs, we'd be set, but that would not be tolerated for these projects for a variety of reasons!


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Fencing is the best form or protection for young trees. Using multiple means to keep deer away however will likely yield the best results.
We live in Western NYS where the deer density is very high and enjoy results with Deer Repellent Packs. They would add another layer of protection and need only be hung on the tree every 90 days. They use an old school method to keep deer away from plants and landscaping.

Here is a link that might be useful: Deer Repellent

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 8:45AM
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Thanks for the response, coachr. The deed is done though-enclosures consisting of nothing more than tall T-posts with four or five rows of twine, done in such a way that each grouping is too small for a deer to jump into. Meanwhile, we also cris-crossed additional lines of twine within each grouping, such that further confusion would ensue if a deer did get inside. Maybe hard to picture, but what it mostly looks like is a bunch of small evergreens with T-posts all around. The twine, while orange, is already hard to see, and this was a necessary component of the whole shebang. This neighborhood is of a type where more conspicuous means would be frowned upon.

The key element here is that even if this doesn't completely succeed, it will be a success from the standpoint of then knowing we need to carry things further. And those packs are interesting and could be added to this quite readily.

If we do happen to achieve a degree of success with this simple method, we will then carry forward our intention to replicate at more of our stormwater pond and channel sites.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 9:16AM
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