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Deer ate my arborvitae

Posted by pagrandma Pennsylvania (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 22, 14 at 16:52

I hope to get some advice about what I should do with my arborvitae. The deer have done a lot of damage this winter.

We are in the woods on eleven acres. Unfortunately, I planted a row of arborvitae and learned quickly they were a temptation, so surrounded them with deer net fencing.

They've done well these past ten years until this winter. The snow was heavy... and the fence collapsed. The poor hungry deer herd started to munch, and I felt so sorry that I let them fill their bellies.

Now, if you can visualize... I have a row of semi nude 'topiary trees'.

Rather than replace the fencing (a chore for this almost eighty year old and not that pretty), I've been considering just pruning the bare bottom branches and perhaps planting some low growing, less tasty shrubs at the base.

Any suggestions would be so helpful.
~ Joyce

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Deer ate my arborvitae

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 22, 14 at 16:59

They will stand up on their back feet to get higher foliage - although I don't know if your hedge is something they might try this with.

Bucks will also maul conifers with their antlers when trying to get rid of velvet.

Point being I think you should beef up the fence. Maybe save up and pay somebody else to do it, if necessary.

One I have seen used successfully was deer netting stapled to peeler poles. All that showed up much was the poles, in fact deer apparently couldn't always see the wire and would sometimes jump into it, with being thrown backward onto the ground perhaps producing a psychological deterrent in addition to a physical one.

It was necessary to do occasional maintenance on the fence.

RE: Deer ate my arborvitae

Now, if you can visualize...

==>> no.. i cant... to give you any good information on these specific plants ... sorry

at 80ish... lets go a little zen here... what are you trying to accomplish.. on 11 acres.. with a row of these things... i presume this isnt like suburbia... where you are trying to hide from some neighbor 15 feet away ....

so why not just let it go??? .... just watch and see what happens over time ... and if the deer take them.. so what????

replacing them.. or fencing them.. simply because that is how they have always been.. seems like a lot of work to me .... again.. on 11 acres ...

if i were you.. i would declare it a native area.. and let the natives take over.. and see what happens.. crikey.. at 54.. i am already declaring such ... lol ... and i only have 5 acres ..

dont make yourself more work.. just to keep things... like they used to be ...


RE: Deer ate my arborvitae

That's one of their favorite foods. I had to wrap mine in burlap (and I mean REALLY wrap every bit--otherwise they'll remove it).

Also, I sprayed mine once a week with a repellant spray. It smelled like rotten eggs--pukeworthy, so hold your breath and stay upwind.

Skip a week, or let the burlap get loose, and they'll decimate your trees overnight.

RE: Deer ate my arborvitae

Thanks for replies, all...

bboy, Bucks haven't been a problem (yet)...although have seen them prancing through at a distance. It's mama's and babes.
We already have 3/8" metal pipes supporting, and they have managed to create repairs in the past.

Purpleaa, Spray I did consider. Burlap too much trouble. There are twenty shrubs.

Ken, love your humor.
The house we built is closest to one edge of the property and road (and neighbors) but it's probably a couple of hundred yards. The hedge was just a visual block for this so called 'cabin in the woods'...ya sure.... I keep planting stuff.

Native is good
I'll consider just 'letting it go'. Should I do that too to the bamboo my husband planted?

~ Joyce

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