Deer eaten pear tree.

zacmaxMay 13, 2012

So I'm pretty new to growing trees and last year during the fall I bought some fruit trees from a local farm and garden. Come this spring they seemed to be doing quite well but the other day they were all attacked by some deer and one of them was completely stripped of all it's leaves. I know the way to stop the predators is to build a mesh fence around the trees so they can't come and do it again, but I want to know if there is any hope for the tree that had all it's leaves devoured? Is there anything I can do to help it?

Thanks in advance.

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

One defoliation shouldn't kill even a newly planted tree. It might die but probably not. There is nothing you can do other than wait for the tree to grow more leaves and build that fencing asap. Another defoliation might kill it.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 10:49PM
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I had that problem it took 3 years to kill the apple tree.
The deer only ate the leaves in the early Spring, so I thought that the tree would grow out of the deer reach in a few years. The leafless Spring, hot summer & dry Hotter Fall take the life from them. I will build the fence first then plant the trees this time.I also made friends with a few local hunters too.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 11:05PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


I used liquid fence at home depot to fight off the deer and so far it is working real well. Just wear glove when you mix the solution in water because it is really stink.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 11:45PM
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Hi Tony,

Can you give me the brand of the liquid fence your use, please?

I've used a Deer Off bottled spray at this point (but the rain keeps washing it off). I'd like to try liquid fence if it works better.

Thank you very much.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 1:02PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

I needed some deer protection against some young trees. Long term feedback on this forum was that PlantSkydd seems to do a good job, but can't be sprayed on. Scott reports good luck with Deer Out.

I didn't end up using either one. I got a product called Bobbex. It was advertised in one of the trade magazines as supposedly outperforming PlantSkydd (and all other products) in some trial with forestry in CT. I didn't put a lot of stock in the trial, but ordered Bobbex because I found it cheaper than either PlantSkydd or Deer Out.

Supposedly Bobbex is somewhat systemic and won't wash off. Because of that they don't recommend you use it one bearing age trees. I haven't used it long enough to know whether it works or not, but it does have a very strong odor and it doesn't burn the foliage.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 11:52PM
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Thank you, Olpea,

I've heard Bobbex's commercial but have not found it in local stores so I have not used it. I've used a couple brands of bottle spray. Unfortunately, I did not keep record of what I used!! I remember one of them smell like cinnamon.

If Bobbex can't be used on bearing age trees, wouldn't it have quite limited use then? More than half of my trees are in bearing age.

I've only seen one deer in my yard/neighborhood but it has caused enough damage in my orchard.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 8:04AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Yes Bobbex would have limited use. I am using it just to protect new non-bearing trees.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 10:21AM
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mjmarco(Zone 6 Upstate NY)

I swear by Irish Spring bar soap, cut the bar in half and tie a string around it and hang it on a small branch or lay it on the ground. Worked for me and you can tell when the soap loses it's punch to change it.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 9:17PM
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birdgardner(NJ/ 6b)

Repellent works well for me. You should prune back the chewed-up branches. The ragged ends invite disease and there is something corrosive about deer spit that causes die-back, I think.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 11:29PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

The home depot here in Omaha only carry one kind, it says Liquid fence conc.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 7:18AM
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