F-ing deer!

A deer got my forsythia, and my young Redbud and Swamp Chestnut Oak last night.

Has to be a deer, because the damage stops about 5 feet above the ground.

The oak. Thankfully, the leader and upper limbs are untouched - it’s about 7’ tall. Still lost probably 50% of its foliage though.

Similar story for the redbud.

Forsythia had all shoots chewed to nubs. It’s a new transplant as well, so I’m concerned it won’t make it.

Should I cut the denuded branches back to dormant buds or just leave them be for now? The oak in particular has lots of dormant buds further down the branches.

Sorry to see that. I’ve had far too many such discoveries and can feel your pain.

I would leave it alone for now and prune after you see what comes back. Put a fence around the forsythia. Losing the lower growth on the others is nothing in the larger scheme of things, you could even remove all those lower limbs so the deer won’t revisit. I have done that on many trees, for example my mulberry I could not keep them off so I made sure there was nothing within reach for them to eat. The hard part was getting the tree to grow tall enough so the tip was beyond their reach, that took many years since it kept getting munched.


Long-term, yes those lower limbs will be removed, but if I removed them now, the trees would look like broomsticks.

Deer ate my Bing cherry, and Apple tree.! But it’s ok because of we invaded their home land.20180429_212400

1 Like

Not completely true in the way you think, Vincent.

Even native plants are having trouble reproducing in this area because of deer pressure. Deer are, by nature, woodland edge creatures. We DO create more “edges” to woods as trees are cut, so in that sense humans are responsible, but the fact is their populations are FAR higher than they used to be as a result of that.

There are places where only Japanese Stiltgrass grows in the understory because of deer eating native seedlings.

1 Like

Scott - on the oak, about half the branches affected were less than 3’ up the trunk, and twiggy, so I did just remove those entirely. I’ll see what the others do.

The leader has already put on 12" - so I think by the end of summer, it will have grown enough to limb it up another ‘rung’ of branches. I started this tree (Quercus michauxii) from a locally-collected acorn, and at the end of last season, it’s second growing season from seed, it was 1" in caliper and 77 inches tall…so it’s a fast grower so far! I expect 3’ again this season.

1 Like

Deer really did some damage to my young mulberries and devoured the sweet-potato vines. Any small tree you want to keep can be protected by hanging a sock with a few moth balls…or several socks for a larger plant. A radio, protected from the rain, works pretty good to spook them…at least for awhile (I feel “Death Metal” music would work the best).


In my area electric fence works great, but I understand it can’t be used in some neighborhoods. Human urine works to some degree, but we hunt on our property. It probably wouldn’t work in an area where many humans exist.

1 Like

al least it wasnt completely stripped. when a moose gets mine anything under 8ft. is gone! luckily i live in a populated area where we dont see them too often. my father has had all of his apples stripped completely in 1 night.

Man, that sucks! One of the four legged munchers got to my newly planted apples and carmine jewel cherries last week before I was able to cage them. They will be stunted this year now. Ugh. I’ve had trees damaged far worse than this by deer and the trees came back the following season once I got cages around them. Wish city ordinance allowed hunting in the city by bow / crossbow.

1 Like