Deer Damaged Dogwood help

I planted this Stellar Pink dogwood in Spring of 2021. at the end of the year we lost ~1/3 of the top growth to borer damage that broke the central stem. Help! broken main stem of hybrid dogwood

we really must be having some bad luck because, while it did really well this season after the borer damage, we just noticed 2 days ago that several of the branches had broken again. we feared more borer damage but this looks like Deer damage from rubbing antlers on the bark. its still such a small tree I’m concerned about it surviving the winter. is there anything I can do to protect the exposed tissue survive the upcoming winter? should I attempt to splint the damaged branches?

Could have had deer meat in the freezer if you had the shotgun or rifle handy…kind of late now.


If it’s stripped all the way around it may be done. For sure need to cage it till it gets bigger. You can try taping everything back together. I’ve done it with some success. Here deer will destroy anything unprotected.


Wow. Sorry you had to go through that.

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It’s illegal to hunt in a residential community in my area because the homes are too close together.

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It’s between 1/2 and 3/4 lost around.

It should grow back from below the damaged area. So I’d suggest that you cut off all the stripped area of trunk next spring.


I agree with fruitnut. Cut it off or start with another. I’ve let several go after attacks. Some survived some didn’t, but the ones that did struggled for several years and the stripped section is an entry point for insect and disease.



Not everyone eats deer but i understand how you could see that as having a second purpose. In my area people eat deer so they look at it similar. The cities and other places don’t see it the same.
We are all sorry to see this damage it’s very discouraging. In my area fencing can be required for certain trees. They love apple trees here. Noone can sit out there 24/7 with a gun protecting a dogwood.

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We are from all over the world in this forum so sometimes what seems like an easy solution in a certain area may not be so simple in your area. We all have been frustrated by deer exactly like what you experienced there. Sorry to see this damage. As @fruitnut said it should come back from the roots i have had that very thing happen myself. Sometimes building a tall well anchored wire cage is the only solution. Many people electrify the fence surrounding their orchard. Cringe when i see that damage i know it to well. Here are some past posts that may be helpful

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I could see going to such lengths as a tall fence or an electrified fence for a fruit orchard but this is a single decorative dogwood tree solely planted for its pink flowers that my wife likes.

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If your not wanting to put up a fence around it consider a deer repellant like liquid fence and give it a few sprays once in awhile. When i say fence keep in mind i mean a 3 foot circle of wire

Here is a thread on fruit cages should you want to go that way Size of fruit tree cages?

Try hanging some Irish Spring around it. I used to put it in socks and hung around the tree. It works well, but the smell doesn’t last forever.

While it’s still small if you don’t protect it your wasting your time. They will be back to eat it in the spring.

Nothing eats it. I’ve never had a deer eat it before in the two years it’s been growing. I’m pretty sure this is just rutting damage from rubbing antlers on a small smooth barked tree. The more research I do the more I hear it’s very common with dogwoods of this size because of the smooth bark. The white mulberries, paper mulberries, and even Osage orange that grow on my property on the other hand get eaten all the time.

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I get the point.
It’s unfortunate
but in some situations about
all one can do is either moan or cry…
and plant something else.

“woe to those that join house to house…,”

can you explain Isaiah 5:8’s relevancy to the situation? I don’t understand how it is applicable. my house is not joined to another. I have 2.25 acres of property. our law states you can’t hunt within 150 yards of an occupied structure and I obey the law.

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Laws do have consequences. So, if the majority pass laws that severely restrict hunting, over population is a consequence, be it deer or any other animal.

I guess the Isaiah reference pertained more to a comment by Clark…but there are all kinds of problems in densely populated places that rural folk have less trouble with. You don’t hear of riots in corn fields in Iowa, but you do in big cities.

Sorry to have gotten off topic.