The plan was to topwork my wild callery pear in the spring, but today I see that the deer have rubbed most of the bark off a section of the trunk. I THOUGHT the thorns all over the trunk would be enough to keep the deer away but apparently not. There is about a 2 inch strip of bark still intact, but even that has some damage on it.
Should I go ahead and graft this spring, or chop it down and graft to one of the suckers next year? The tree is about 12’ tall.
If they only got half way around it your ok. Paint it with tanglefoot or wrap in wire because they will be back tonight. Deer love to rub and callery thorns in deer terms are great back and head etc. scratchers. If you do cut it off and if they already girdled it no problem just use a cleft graft on the 4 " or so above the ground. Just did one last year and it turned out great.
I covered the trunk with that corrugated pipe in the background of that last picture, so hopefully it’s safe from further damage.
They will rub the branches etc. tonight. Sharpening and practicing with horns is a favorite for the bucks.
Here, I only need a narrow ring of 3’ fencing to protect the trunks when a buck enters my nursery. They seem to prefer rubbing red cedar, so I keep a few at the edge of my nursery in spite of the cedar apple rust issue. They still will damage a few trees at the edge of my nursery many years.
That tree will not suffer too much although it will take years for the wound to be fully covered with healthy cambium. As long as the trunk is not completely girdled trees usually recover. Hard for me to sell them when they’ve been seriously wounded though.