My fishing line fence was breached last night, allowing the deer to eat a good amount of foliage from the apple and pear trees. First, they ate a lot of leaves that are around the spurs on the pear trees. Will this affect fruit production next year? Do I remove those spurs because they won’t get enough energy, or just leave them alone?
Second, there are two branches on this one apple tree that keep getting hit by deer. The branch is all deformed despite me trying to baby it. It is the lowest scaffold branch. The tree has a lot of good growth above these two damaged branches. Should I just remove those two branches and let the higher branches take over?
Sorry to hear about the deer. Spurs should recover, I would leave them. I had an apple that the deer munched the spurs on and when they grew back they were much more spurry and productive than before. I’m not sure if they will grow back in time this year or not, but they should eventually come back. The lower branch sounds like one to remove.
The fish line fence seems to last for about a month on average. Its slightly worse than the motion detector sprinklers which also don’t last forever. I think I am committed to repellants from here on out for this reason. This is the first year in about five years where no new grafts have been munched. I am rotating amongst Plantskydd, Deer Out, and Bobbex.
I’m not the expert, but I feel deer will be able to jump over a 2 meter fence.
Does anyone know about electric fences. Are they legal and or ethical on a suburban lawn. There is no sidewalk and the fence is about three feet from the street, so its possible people may wander into it when picking up dog poop or whatever. If my kids touch it, will it make their hair stand on end or simply give them a little tingle? I can deal with shocking my kids mildly, but I don’t want to hurt them and I don’t want to tick off the neighbors who already have to look at my orchard all year.
I’d suggest that you should know what an electric fence feels like before installing one on your property. People whose children unknowingly come in contact with it may feel like contacting an attorney. It is definitely more than a tingle. A tingle wouldn’t keep a deer from going through it anyway.
I’m sure the experience can vary a lot depending on the charger and how well everything is grounded including the person touching it. I’ve only been shocked a couple of times. While unpleasant there are many worse things that could happen. But as stated above if it weren’t highly unpleasant the deer would walk right thru it.
I do use wire cages for the young trees, but I find them cumbersome as the branches reach the cage and the grass grows around the cage. The trees grow on the side of my house and border the street. The neighbor who has to look at them all year is a landscaper who keeps an immaculate yard so I try to keep up appearances to be nice. The 10 peaches I gave him helped. I’m pretty sure I could not install a tall fence because of township rules.
If I had know I would like gardening and having an orchard so much, I would have moved to the country. At this point it just seems to overwhelming and ridiculous to move just to improve my orchard. Stupid hindsight.
I assume since you’re growing in town, you’re growing trees on dwarf and/or small semi-dwarf rootstocks? I grow apples and pears in the country (mainly to feed and attract deer…the irony) on standard or semi-standard rootstocks. I use 5’ cement wire cages about 2.5’ feet wide. I train the first set of limbs right around that 5’ mark. Even then, the lower branches get browsed by deer…but that’s okay. The other limbs above that lower tier will produce fruit just fine.
In town, I guess I’d either fence in the entire orchard area with “approved” fencing or use individual cages large enough to keep deer off of the trees. Accessing the trees would get to be a pain with 10’ wide cages I suppose.
Actually the deer (and other animals too) will walk right thru it if they are not properly “introduced” to the elec fence. You are supposed to bring farm animals up and touch their nose to it; that is an unpleasant enough experience that they don’t go near it again. For wildlife, baiting the hot wire with some food is usually how it is done. Peanut butter on small squares of Al foil works for deer. A strip of bacon wrapped on the hot wire for coyotes, bears, etc.
On the elec fence I put around our bee hives, I baited it with bacon. A day later there was one piece of bacon pulled off the wire but dropped on the ground. And the bear stopped visiting the hives…
I don’t need to put up any signs for either of my solar electric fences. I live in an extremely rural area. If I lived in town then maybe so, but my guess is that most cities/towns have ordinances and/or covenants against being able to use electric fencing. Put up all the signs you want, won’t stop an ambitious attorney.
Deer absolutely can jump a 6-7’ foot fence, but if they will or not is not a given. Deer will generally not jump into enclosures that they cannot see through and that they cannot readily jump back out of.
I successfully keep deer out of my garden with nothing but a few bags of milorganite every year.