Deer ate my honey crisp branches now its just a stick

jeff262March 9, 2014

Deer have ate the branches from young honey crisp apple trees now there's the trunk stick up with no branches are they worth keeping? Will new branches grow out or will they look really bad
Thanks jeff

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franktank232(z5 WI)

Sometimes it looks worse then it is. Need to find out where the tree was grafted and what you have left above that graft. There should be buds that grow out if you still have enough wood left above that graft. In the future you'll have to protect that tree. I've had a ton of rabbit damage this year.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 3:53PM
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If the main stem is okay and hasn't been damaged very much, then indeed many new branches should form to replace what has been lost. You may need prune out some of these to properly space them as they develop. Be sure to provide protection to avoid a future deer attack which could occur at any time of the year.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 9:04PM
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you're probably fine. Do you have more then honeycrisp? HC won't pollinate HC. You'll need at least one other variety. I would suggest at least two because HC commonly won't fruit until 7 years old, won't pollinate either. Get something like Fireside, Liberty, Pristine, Redfree. All are good apples that will pollinate with HC. Plus these will fruit younger so you can get a start eating apples if you have a couple varieties of these others.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 9:11PM
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yes the trunks are in good shape and the branches were left with 8 inches sticking out of the trunk, in the spring should i cut the branch stubs all the way back to the trunk or just leave them? also i added fish line in the woods behind the trees and i made a 300ft laser trip wire for the front of them that sets off a dog barking recording for the front of the trees. the deer didnt want anything to do with the fireside tree just the honey crisp ones
thanks jeff

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 10:31PM
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Jeff, indeed do leave those branches, though you can trim up the chewed off ends with some pruners, your tree will recover nicely I'm sure.

I like the idea of your laser trip line that sets off the dog barking recording, that outta do the job :)


    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:42PM
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mjmarco(Zone 6 Upstate NY)

Trim up the branches they chewed on and put Irish Spring bar soap on the tree. Cut the bars in quarters tie a string on them or just place it by the base of the tree. Worked for me, deers don't like the smell.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 8:26AM
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the tricks of repelling deer are very temporary. the soap buys you a week or two. the barking dog recording I predict only one night at the most. The only effective method is an appropriate fence.

there is a thing that does a big boom every so often, with a grill propane tank as the fuel source. Those work for a couple weeks or more, then the deer are cool with the booms and eat away.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 9:37AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I understand venison is really good paired with apples! A shotgun might fix your problem permanently!

I'd love to know how you hooked up that barking dog recording. We do have a chain link fence, and although deer are in these hills, something else is eating our fruit. Something big enough to squash down a chicken wire fence around a tree.

Our critters leave the growth alone (other than gophers, rabbits and voles), and go for any fruit that starts to ripen.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:10AM
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The tree will survive, but it probably not be the same. When my trees were eaten by deer, it set them back and took 2 years to get back to decent growing tree.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 11:54AM
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