Deer-Proof Cages (not fences) and Cost

In a few weeks I’m going to timber a couple dozen more scrub trees to open things up. Then I’ll start preparing to plant persimmons (plus a mulberry or two) next year. I know there have been some discussions before but I would like to try to have a discussion in one place. What have you done to deer proof your fruit trees (pictures please) and the cost.

I used cheap Tractor Supply farm fence. I started with four foot rings while they were small to stop grazing. Then when they were tall enough I shrunk the rings to one foot to stop buck rubs. Not exactly pretty, but very effective.

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Cliff England grows just about everything that deer love… he showed me these plastic tree guards or growing tubes (not sure of the name) that he uses… not deer proof like you asked for…im not sure that anything short of a tree prison would make it deer proof…without fences.

I believe from a conversation I had with another grower that Clifford uses Plantra tree tubes, possibly the 58" version. Maybe @KYnuttrees can confirm?

https://www.plantra.com/Plantra-58-SunFlex-Grow-Tubes--Doe-Shield-10-Pack_p_148.html

I have 12’ locust posts I’m going to pound in with a plate tamper on an excavator and there is a new local to me fence manufacturer, High-Quality Farm Fencing Products from Bull Barn Fence Factory , and they offer 8’ fencing. I plan to go there this week once they sort through their “seconds” pile and get everything they have. The salesman said there was probably half a million dollars worth of fence in the pile, so I’m hopeful there is enough to do most of the new property.

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I don’t have any pictures, but I use concrete remesh from the hardware store. It’s gotten a lot more expensive since I did it, but it works and lasts forever.

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I have been using

tubes around my apples and pears.

,

Funny the winter rye is almost to the top of the 5’ tree tubes now. Nearly time to start mowing (rotating buckwheat - summer and winter rye -fall to build soil).

I’ll be interested in how the fence goes and what it costs. I could do a small section next year. The site is difficult to access with equipment so bringing 12’ posts would be difficult, but not impossible.

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I started all the apples in the picture in my garden and then transplanted. I kept them to a central leader until 5’ for the tree tubes. The reason to deviate for the persimmons is that I was going to allow scaffolds at a lower height so I need to protect them differently.

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I have a couple deer living on my property more or less permanently, so there is a lot of pressure from them. I put up wide cages of 5’ horse fence with 7’ t-bar posts, 3 posts per cage. I cut a small “window” out of the bottom of each cage that I can crawl through to get inside for better access for weeding, fertilizing and pruning. I’ve probably spent about $300 CAD protecting around 12 trees.

They work well. The deer get at branches that stick through the cages, but haven’t really threatened the health of my trees. I’m hoping I can get the trees tall enough to defend themselves in a couple more years.

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Cages. Lots of cages. Thinking of an electric fence that’s only on at night.

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For a high density orchard, perimeter fencing might well be cheaper and really the only viable option. For a low density orchard where the goal is to get trees above deer height, cages are the way to go.

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Hey Folks

We use Tree pro tree tube 36 and 48 in length and leave them on till the tree is mature or to prevent Mower Blight / Mower Damage

Thank you we had a Great time at the Pawpaw Conference

Clifford

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Here"s what I have done and it seems to work fairly well. Hardware cloth trunk guards for rodents, maily rabbits and 4 foot diameter field fence on two t-posts for deer and larger animals. My wife mows it with a zero turn and doesnt complain.

Couple lessons leraned… Bend over the horizontal wires to make it easy to open and close the cage. Also make your hardware cloth a large enough diameter for your hand to fit in from the top to snap off any suckers or unwanted growth from the trunk.

Pictured is a newly grafted granny smith apple on MM111 rootstock.

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I started out using tree sprials and some tubes. The problem with them is no air flow resulting in mold at the base of the tree. Also its a great place for borers since you cant get any spray down there and its constantly moist. I’ve since went to hardware cloth. It comes in rolls of various heights and lenghts at any home improvement store. Mold problem solved and I can get the trunk wet easy enough with my sprayer.

There is a hunt club 120 acres on the south side of me. About dusk there are herds of deer that cross the back of my property. When I put up barb wire fencing for cattle, I placed it 30 foot off of the property line i could see the deer path clearly and left it unobstructed. I did this to allow the deer easy crossing instead of jumping into our cattle pasture. Plus its easy enough for humans to cross our property in a 4 wheeler or on foot instead of climbing our barb wire, which would probably leave me questioning their IQ.

8 foot tall deer fencing is common around here. Such fencing is big bucks (no phun intended).

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I’ve used 5’ Tree Pro tubes, remesh, and fencing with t-posts. The tubes are easiest. They have some drawbacks. They tend to accumulate wasp nests. Some people say mice will nest in them. I have not experienced that. My trees in tubes grew slower, but that could be because I mostly have them on field edges as opposed to cages in the open. They are easy to put up though. I haven’t had a lot of deer browse once they reach 5’ but I suppose it could happen. I mentioned in another thread that during an extended drought with temps over 100F, the trees that were still in the tubes fried and regrew from roots. Trees that were above the tubes made it out fine. Remesh is quite expensive now but it’s great in that it barely needs a stake or post to support it. Fencing with t-posts is rough on my land. I hit a boulder every time I drive a post it feels like. It’s time consuming too. If you go this route, make it easy on yourself to be able to open the cage. I didn’t and maintenance can be harder.

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My small pear, chestnut and persimmon seedlings (1 - 2’) are getting mauled. What do you recommend for small trees?

Cages are more expensive but they work. I cut remesh at about 15’ long which makes them between 4 and 5’ in diameter. You can use tubes as well. Id go 5’ for sure if you do, maybe 6 if you think theyd still nip them when they exit the tube.

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This is exactly what i did this year, seems to work well. Because the remesh is more sturdy they are easy to remove for weeding. I got my roll from Home depot, though, and it seems a little expensive. $230 for a 150’ roll, makes about 10 cages so $23 each. Do you have a better source?