how to keep deer from eating small apple and peach trees.

ball44July 8, 2010

I have some trees that I grafted last year. I put some fencing around each tree but now the trees are taller than the fence and the deer are biting the tops of them off. I am looking for suggestions on the best way to solve this problem. I don't want to spend a whole bunch of money, so fencing is probably out of the question unless I can find something reasonable. I know that spray is an option, is there any one spray better than the other and how long do they last.



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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


The sprays don't work for long. Perhaps you could just raise your fencing a foot or two. Our deer don't graze over about 5ft high. I don't think a foot or two open at the bottom will be a problem for the deer.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 7:50PM
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Shoot 'em

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 9:12PM
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glenn_10 zone 4b/5a NewBrunswick,Can.

I feel your pain and frustration,I too have fallen victim to these wonderful creatures. Last weekend I woke up to find my 12 in one "Franken" tree stripped along with a golden delicious(seems to be the favorite of deer) Cortland ,and a 4'n'1. I bled a lot from one of the grafts on the 12 in one which makes it even more painful to look at the damage. I will stop rambling now as for the solution....(I don't have an exact recipe)I mixed a bunch of eggs and some of my wife's cheap perfume and fresh sage and mint from the garden, blended it together and let stand for a few days in the shed to let it rot.You then screen it with cheese cloth, spray and don't stand down wind cause it absolutely reeks!It stinks so bad the deer took one nibble last year and did not return well until last weekend:(I don't think I would spray it on fruit bearing age trees but it sure would stop the little guys from getting unwanted haircuts until they get tall enough.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 12:04AM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

We had 6 ft tall rings around young trees and the deer crushed the fencing down and damaged a cherry whip.

Now there is game fence around the orchard, which seems to be working.

There are two walnut trees in rings. The rings are kennel wire (2x2 squares of non-climb)6 ft tall, and then an additional 2 ft of chicken wire above that for a total of 8 ft. Wire is supported by 6 T-posts; 8 footers, so they extend 6 ft above the ground. Then an extension fastened to the posts to hold the chicken wire.

So far, the rings are sturdy enough and tall enough to keep the deer from eating the trees.

If you already have fencing around your trees, it shouldn't cost too much to add some additional height.

It's a sad fact of gardening. If you want fruit and veggies, you have to shell out the money necessary to defeat the wildlife.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 3:29AM
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alan haigh

Oregon has mule deer which are bigger and stronger than white tails. A 5' tall ring made of about a 12' length of 14 gauge galvanized fencing with a single stake usually works for white tails- occassionally you need 3 or 4 stakes but here in NY it's quite rare for the deer to push it in or climb on top.

Don't use plastic netting unless you use the heavy stuff with 4 stakes. Train the trees above the browse line. Deer are easy, squirrels, bear and moose are hard.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 5:49AM
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I'm in OH too--facing plenty of white tail pressure. I have had good luck with a 3-D electric fence, both for my garden and my fruit orchard. Use T-posts to support strands at approx 2' and 4.5' high. Then use pigtail posts to support a third strand 3' outside of the T-posts. Use a small solar charger, available for about $90. In several years of use, there have been only minimal breeches. It's not perfect, but it is the best solution I have found. I am going to plant 200 more trees next year, and I will be relying on another 3D setup.

I have a few old fruit trees outside the fence. Guess what--my deer stand is set up right there. Sweet revenge!

Good luck,

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 11:18PM
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alan haigh

By the way, I've literally protected thousands of trees on 100's of sites using the rings I described here which take only a few minutes per tree to put up. However, I only recommend them with rootstock at least as vigorous as M26 so the tree has the vigor to grow above the browse line. The disadvantage is fruit must be harvested above 5' or so.

Electric fences can work very well but sometimes get unexpectedly grounded by weeds or struck by lightening. Deer can also jump them and it's recommended you bait wire with peanut butter to condition them against that. There's a reason commercial growers around here most often stick with an 8' wildlife fence even though it's much more expensive than an electric system.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 6:48AM
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I would like to have put up an 8' fence, but I couldn't get ahold of it locally and I didn't want to deal with such tall supports. I guess I could have made two levels of 4' fencing. But instead I got a 330' roll of 78" tall "game fencing" and supported in with 8' T-posts driven two feet into the ground. It seems to have worked pretty good. Although lately from time to time they were getting in. It turns out, I think, their coming in from the street side right by my house which I didn't think they'd do, and didn't fence off. They come in the morning and since I'm now working at home I have confronted them a couple of times. It was a doe and either another smaller doe or a large fawn. Both times they could not leap over the 78" game fence. Even with a full run up to the fence with no obstructions. Going full bore they still crashed into the fence trying to leap over, not fun to watch. I was surprised they couldn't do it. I think they're fat and happy from browsing home owners' gardens and orchards.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 12:31PM
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I'm going to compare the cost of 100 of your rings vs. the electric 3-D fence. The 3-D would be much less work. 100 rings.....ugh! I think pawpaws would probably be vigorous enough to meet your 5' level.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 11:51PM
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alan haigh

I wouldn't recommend rings for 100 trees- I'd use heavy plastic 7' fencing supported by raw cedar posts with 2' of plastic coated 1" chicken wire at the base 6" in the ground. That's how I protect one of my nurseries. Electric is a good idea also.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 6:05AM
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