Deer control 2019

Another year, another thread :grin: Here were my battles from last year, it seems like I lost more than won but I did manage to harvest some fruit at least:

This year I have a new plan: if they can reach leaves or fruit I’m going to either fence it in or cut it off.

I have a bunch of seedling peaches, I moved them to one spot and just fenced them in today:

Here is a shot across my back orchard – you will notice no small branches are down low any more, except for a few trees which I have put small circles of deer fence around (those are in the background, zoom in to see):

I am also going to be spraying repellant on flowers, but all the fruits I care about I have protected or removed. My vegetable garden is also going to be fenced in.

Take THAT, deer!

I expect I will still lose some things, protection coming off and the bigger deer reaching up for some stuff. But eventually these trees will be out of reach. I removed many M9 apples and the new ones you see there are all MM111 and I plan on them eventually taking over much of the area.

Please feel free to add your own deer control plans and experiences in the coming year to this thread!

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luckily our moose population isn’t as high as your deer as its near impossible to protect fruit trees from a 7ft tall animal. :wink:

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I just have to grow my trees up tall. I can’t trim my peach trees like you normally would if I want to get any peaches. Most of my trees are up to 15’ tall. I just use a picking pole to pick the peaches on a 10’ pole. I am starting a new area now in a 5 acre pasture with a 6’ fence. I have been planting watermelons in there and will slowly start planting trees in there.

Timely thread…
Normally the deer don’t come into our yard, but we removed the ivy that was making it difficult to enter. The 3.5’ wire fence the ivy was growing on is all that remains as a barrier. The deer came in and at the tops off of all my pepper seedlings that were sitting in front of my front door (they left the tomatoes alone). More worrisome, they also ate a lot of leaves off my newly planted nectarine trees. Only the nectarines. They left the nearby peaches, apricots, pluots, and apriums alone. My Double Delight doesn’t have many leaves left. I hope it survives.

My Plan: I bought some Plantskydd. I hope it works. If it doesn’t, I’ll have to wrap the trees in some kind of netting. Long term, I am planting a citrus/feijoa hedge that will serve to replace the ivy and hide the ugly wire fence, but I know the hedge will take a few years to get to a decent height.

My nursery isn’t fenced and I still get good control with my fermented egg and blood mixture. The problem is that I have to spray every couple of weeks and for a day the stuff stinks.

However, I don’t have a lot of large bucks around because there are lots of hunters in my county that has a very pro-gun, pro-hunting culture.

My deer may not be as hungry as yours, although unsprayed trees get browsed and J. plums really get mangled when I lag at all on protection. I don’t get a lot of standing on hind legs action to remove high fruit and foliage the way a customer of mine does just a few miles away (it is an exclusive neighborhood free of working-class hunters).

Some years the deer aren’t even interested in fruit although they always like to browse the leaves.

My main problem is buck-rubs, usually done by small bucks before they are brought down during hunting season. I rarely see one with big racks around here.

In Westchester county below me, where most of the orchards I tend exist, there are a lot more big bucks, but trees trained to where fruit is above 4’ almost never are bothered by deer. Squirrels require most of the effort- the deer I ignore.

Once you’ve converted your orchard to higher trees, I doubt it will be too much an issue, but every site is different- the one near me requires keeping the fruit above 6’. I have no idea why the deer go up so much higher there. There have to be just as many big bucks around some of the orchards I manage in Westchester.

Too bad your trees don’t have straight, high trunks so you could experiment with squirrel baffles. Some could be protected with cones, which can work even better than cylinders.

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In the Campbell Count Va Virginia we are overrun with deer. The only way to protect apple and cherry trees is to fence them, the deer will eat every leaf they can reach in the spring and again mid to late summer. Peach and nectarines are not so bad, they will usually just eat the end of the branches, usually a small amount. I fence all peaches when they are young, then fence around the base when they are older. All fruit trees have to have wire around the base at a minimum to keep the bucks from rubbing the trees.

I don’t worry too much about buck rubs, in 15 years they never girdled anything I really cared about. This spring I have a dozen trunks with a lot of bark missing on one side, but it will grow back. If I had other things better under control I would care more, but I’m in survival mode relative to the deer, and buck rubs are mainly a nuisance. Next door they planted a bunch of new trees and the bucks ruined most of them, not sure why those were so much more tempting. Many of my trees had a pole or something blocking one side so they could not girdle all the way around.

@alan that’s interesting on the different heights deer reach depending on the orchard location. I am currently going for something around 5’ minimum. I will also be spraying repellant on any tempting fruit that may be just in their zone, I had some success with that last year. Overall though the repellant alone just didn’t do it, the rain kept doing in my coating.

At this point all the fruiting trees are out of their grasp except the pomegranates. It looks like they died back yet again, and if thats the case I’m just going to dig them up and move on.

A single strand of electric wire around the orchard will do wonders and isn’t that noticeable if you use the flimsy black posts. Three wires is even better. Keeps the coons out.

That was my plan last fall, but given the number of things the deer have busted through that worked well for other folks I decided I had tried enough of them. Also I am in suburbia so it might not go down well with the neighbors. I’d be interested to hear if anyone in suburbia has the perimeter of their lot with an electric fence.

We have both deer and elk. I started out with 5’ welded wire in a 4’x4’ square around the apple trees. Once the trees cleared 5’, I raised the welded wire up 2ft to a height of 7ft. The deer were able to sneak under the 2ft gap at the bottom and rip branches off some of the trees…didn’t eat much, just decimated the tree. The elk were able to force their way over the top and push the welded wire down to access the tree. I tried putting deer netting over the top which kept the elk out, but an early season snow weighted the netting to the point of crushing some of the top branches which still had leaves on them. I needed the netting since the elk were attracted to the leaves on the trees in the last fall like crack.

I ended up lowering the welded wire a bit to keep the deer from entering through the bottom, and widened the fence perimeter to make up for the decreased height…the fence was shorter, but the trees were too far away from the fence for the elk to get to. This worked for a while, until the elk decided to just go right through the welded wire. The just pushed their head through the fence until it opened a hole large enough for them to access the trees. They are extremely strong animals. Oddly enough I have some pear and peach trees with no protection, but neither the deer or elk had any interest in them. They just wanted the apple trees despite the extra effort to get to them.

Going forward I’m going to tighten up the size of the welded wire fencing. Maybe 3’x’3, or a little larger to add some extra strength to the fence. I’m also going to cover the sides with deer netting since that seems to keep the deer and elk out. This will require training the trees to a narrow central leader and begin laterals over 5ft. The other option is to create an open center, with the laterals beginning a few feet off the ground at about 60 degrees and curving upward, but kept the laterals close together and have them start to spread out over 5’ft…kind of like a narrow, tall vase.

We’ll see if the new strategy works. I just need the trees to get tall enough to hold their own.

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Let me send some of my big bucks your way!! They rack the heck out of the trunk, limbs, branches… they will even rip the tree out…

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How about getting one of these? Talk about freaking your neighbors out.

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For the gardens this year I’m planning on using my fishing line fence, it seemed to work well last year, but, we had less deer pressure in this area because of a disease outbreak that really impacted the local herd. I have seen lots of deer this year already, so I’m expecting a battle with them. :rage:

For my fruit trees and berries: I’m leaving my 4ft welded wire fencing on my smaller apple trees, and will have to expand out the fencing on my bigger trees. I have opened up some of them so they are not totally enclosed, and haven’t seen a lot of damage, although a couple of my trees had their lower trunk/rootstock gnawed on by rabbits, so I have put tubes around those trunks.

Three of my big pear trees have no protection at all now, and have not had any damage, the other two are still caged, though.

I planted 3 pluots last year, and the deer seemed to enjoy gnawing on them so they have to stay caged up. My peaches are somewhat exposed, and haven’t seen much damage.

None of my trees have produced fruit yet, but some might this year, so I don’t know how to deal with protecting fruit from varmits.

I haven’t protected any of my brambles, and it looks like deer have done some damage. Don’t know how to protect them when they start fruiting. I’m more worried about bird pilfering than deer, so may have to net them.

There are deer… and there are demonic deer. Behavioral deterrents don’t work on the latter.

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I think all of mine are of that particular ilk. They seem to find new ways to antagonize me.

They’re gerting bolder, I have blackberry canes no more than 100ft from the front door and they’ve been browsing on them regularly. And behind the house, even closer is our strawberry patch, and they’ve been in there as well. I’m planning on enclosing that in a fishing line fence soon.

Deer here rarely get very old, I’ve never seen a big buck ever. I guess all the cars and trucks are helping me out there… both me and the body shop are happy :slightly_smiling_face:

@subdood_ky_z6b our deer come right up to our house, I saw some flowers in a bed next to the house munched back last weekend. I hope the fishline works, it often does well in small areas. I did my whole yard with fishline once and it worked for about a month. I have a whole roll of deer fencing so it won’t be hard for me to fence in my whole garden. I’ll need to rig some “gate” in it for easy access.

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I use 5’ concrete re-mesh for apple and pear tree cages. A single t-post holds them in place. I train the first set of limbs above the top of the cages (standard and semi-standard rootstocks).

So far, I’ve been able to keep deer out of our veggie garden by pouring a bag of milorganite around the perimeter every few weeks. I imagine that method may not be popular in suburbia though. It does have a good stink to human noses for around a week.

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I had an small area I wanted to temporarily protect. I put up 7’ plastic deer fence from TSC. I knew it wasn’t very strong, but I was hoping it would be a good visual deterrent. It worked for a month or two. Eventually it got torn down by a deer that tried to jump it. I put it put it back up, but it happened again only a couple weeks later. The recommendation is 8’ or higher for deer fence. I should have mounted it a foot higher. Other critters would be able to get under it, but at least it might not not look so tempting to the overconfident.

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I find manure a lot more pungent

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Wow your deer really are demonic! I don’t think they will be able to jump into my garden as its too close to the house. Also I think my fencing is 8’. My main concern is they try to trample it down or something like that. Some of the trees next door had tree guards on the trunks but the bucks pushed the tree guards up and off and de-barked the whole trees.