deer and fruit trees

instengNovember 18, 2013

I am having a problem with deer coming in my area and rubbing on my trees. This weekend I found a large peach tree with half the bark scraped off where a buck was making a scrape. What is the best way to protect the trees from having the bark scraped off? I might set up a blind and see if I can hunt the deer. From the tracks it is a very large one.

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lkz5ia

Probably a wire cage around them is going to work pretty good, helps to kill them too, so go for it.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 12:14PM
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cousinfloyd

Will deer try to rub through the wire to the tree? In other words, does the wire need to be strong enough and far enough from the tree that a deer won't be able to push through/against it up to the trunk? If I were to do the same, would I use 3 T-posts? How would I get the wire tight enough around 3 T-posts?
Thanks for entertaining my stupid questions!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 12:52PM
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calistoga_al

I have an apple I am growing espalier style. With a deer problem I draped it with a plastic netting. A buck deer going after the apple foliage got his horns caught in the mesh and tore it off of the frame. I found a large piece of the materiel about a hundred feet away where he was able to get it off his rack. Al

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 1:14PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

You can buy wire tighteners to stretch wire between poles. Grape supply places have them. Probably some type at hardware stores too. Ask.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 3:03PM
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cousinfloyd

I use wire tighteners for livestock fencing and trellises, but I wouldn't know how to use them with 2-dimensional fencing (i.e. some kind of woven or welded wire instead of just straight 1-dimensional wire), and I wouldn't think T-posts would stand up to that kind of tension pulling on them anyways. There must be an easier way to protect the trunk of a tree than setting multiple wooden posts deep enough to stand up to heavy tension, no?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 3:52PM
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insteng

I will try to wrap it with a heavy wire. There are several other trees they can use to rub on. They seem to like where the trees are planted since there is really good grass in the area and they feel safe in the area. The worst case scenario is I will wrap it with aluminum flashing. At least I have never had a problem with them trying to eat on the trees.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 4:03PM
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swampsnaggs

In my experience, the deer don't like the wire. Make a tube out of hardware cloth and zip-tie it around the trunk of the tree loosely, making sure it won't rub the trunk in the wind. Keep the spikey parts on the top part, the deer don't like them sticking into their nose when they go to rub on the tree.

Any lower scaffolds that the deer can rub on should get some kind of hardware cloth, even plastic mesh works pretty well as a deterrent.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 5:50PM
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murkwell

I've tried several things to keep the deer away from my young trees until they are big enough to fend for themselves.

The thing I like best lately is to use two 5' or longer T-posts and one 16 foot long and about 4.5' tall cattle panel.

I bend the cattle panel into a square that is 4 feet on a side and secure it to opposite T posts with a couple of clips .

Cost is less than $30 using new materials but can be re-used in a couple of years when no longer needed and should last forever.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 5:53PM
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Fascist_Nation(9b)

Visions of venison works for me. Put out a salt lick.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 12:57AM
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clinchbilly(6)

Try a piece of black drain pipe the type used on gutters to drain water away from house, split it and slip it over trunk, bucks can rub all they want with no damage to trees

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 2:43PM
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insteng

"Try a piece of black drain pipe the type used on gutters to drain water away from house, split it and slip it over trunk, bucks can rub all they want with no damage to trees"

That is a good idea. I will give that a try.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 4:30PM
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marc5(6aOH)

When I started my orchard with 25 trees, as Murky suggested I used a 16' cattle panel rolled into a circle around each tree. Now that I have close to 300, I have a 3-D electric fence around the entire orchard, and it works great under heavy deer pressure. T posts hold two strands of electric braid at 24 and 50 inches. Then 3 feet outside of that on pigtail posts there is another strand at about 36 inches. Charged with a solar charger. Also works around the garden. Could not have an orchard or garden without these fences.

I also have a tree stand outside the fence, which has yielded a lot of good venison over the years!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 11:15PM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

Get box dryer sheets tie them around your place refresh ever 2 weeks the Deer stay away from that area. I f have a lot rain ever week. I tie on fence wire and low small limbs. They approach trees in one direction are come out woods this good place to put heavy 10 dryer sheets should take care Deer. One there favorite foods are pea's the dryer sheets keep off pea's..

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 2:02AM
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northwoodswis4

Marc5, I use electric fence in summer, but when there are snow drifts I turn it off. I also have heavy wire cages around the trees. How do you handle winter? Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 2:20PM
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bonnan(6 & 5)

Marc.How do you cope with grass and weed growth under the fence?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 9:18PM
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marc5(6aOH)

Here in Ohio, snowdrifts are rarely an issue. Perhaps in winter you could raise the lower inside strand.

The beauty of the pigtail posts on the outside strand is that they allow me to pick up the posts and move that strand temporarily so that I can mow. Here is what it looks like, with pawpaws in the background:

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 3:58PM
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Beeone(4 N. Wyo.)

I've had problems with deer rubbing their antlers on the fruit trees, doing an incredible amount of damage, plus they like to browse the new growth during the summer.

Initially, I bought a roll of snow fence --made with wooden laths about 48" high. It was a really cheap option. I cut the roll into about 10 foot lengths, then brought the two ends together and wired the ends to form a circle with a diameter of approximately 3 feet. From there, I put two T posts in on opposite sides of the tree so they were 3 feet apart, with one post in line with the prevailing winds (northwest for me). Then, I lifted up the fence circle and "wove" it down over the two posts so that I had at least the top and bottom wires on the opposite side of the post as the rest of the wires. This worked really well. When I started with this, I used 3 posts but decided that wasn't needed. I've also put in the posts and wrapped the fence around them and wired the ends together, hooking just the top wire over the posts and that has worked.

This also worked for stopping the summer grazing, but with more trees I gave up on the individual snow fencing and just surrounded everything with an electric fence. I like Marc5's two fences as I have problems with the deer jumping over my 5' fence, but they like a clear landing area and I think a second fence a short distance from the first deters them since they don't have a clear takeoff/landing area.

I think the main thing to stop the rubbing is to make it hard for them to reach the tree. They want something fairly firm and rough to rub. The fencing is either too soft or has too many holes to tangle in and keeps them away.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 1:22AM
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murkwell

Marc, how far apart are your posts? I'm trying to estimate cost.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 4:20AM
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marc5(6aOH)

Murky, you can go to about 30' between posts--no more. At that distance, I get some sag between the pigtails because there is not much tension. On the inside strands, with T-posts, and wooden posts at the corners, you can tension it. I get my supplies at Premier or Kencove. TSC usually doesn't have much selection.

Marc

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 8:33AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Marc,

What are you using for electric rope? I like the visibility of it. How long is it supposed to last?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 11:35AM
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Tunamelt

I had an apple tree ravaged by a buck in rut last year. Using deer repellant spray works to keep them from browsing branches, but I didn't give it the thought that they can also use young fruit trees to scratch their antlers against. So I placed a 4' wire fence wrapped in a circle around the trees. It worked as I had no trees rubbed on this past year, we have lots of deer here too. One extra trick is I tied a metal muffin holder to a metal t post so it bangs against it to make noise in the wind. Deer do not like to hear the metallic clanging at night. I also hung a wind chime nearby for good measure!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 7:21PM
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marc5(6aOH)

Olpea, I believe that section is electric rope from Premier, although I have used both it and the rope from Kencove. They are very similar, but the Premier has a more striped appearance. They claim a 10-year life.

Premier Electric Rope

Marc

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 11:40PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Thanks Marc.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2013 at 6:22PM
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Michael

Guess I'm lucky, the vermin only have gone after my trees when they are up to a few years old, after that the ony damage has been a wee bit of browsing over the Winters. I finally learned and with my young peach put 4 t-posts in and wrapped a dozen or so strands of the orange, synthetic bailing twine around and around the 4 posts up to the top of the posts nd also tied many pieces of flagging tape to the strings. My thought is that a buck would get easily hung up in the strings and/or wouldn't even try due to the visual barrier (lots of lines). I didn't have to worry about making the "fence" jump proof (it was 5' tall because it's perimeter, with a tree occupying the inside area MUST not be and attractive place to try and jump into to get to the tree.

Took the contraption down today, hope it wasn't too soon.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Farm wire loop [picture] has done good for me.
Or some chicken wire around the trunk.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2013 at 10:30PM
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jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)

Here is a picture of the corner of my new 2 acre orchard. Set it up with 8ft 8 wire high tensile electric fence. I have tried all of the other ideas, but I couldn't keep em away. Figure with this the fence will keep out most and the dogs (great Pyrenees) will keep out the rest. Baited the fence with aluminum foil with peanut butter smeared on it. Fence charger is the 100 mile charger, that way I don't have to worry about tumble weeds shorting it out.

Im not sure if you can see the fence well, but its back there. Trees are not all in yet.

I still use chicken wire around each tree, but mostly for the rabbits.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 7:18PM
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jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)

Here is what my fence looks like

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 7:26PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Jag,

Nice fence. What gauge wire are you using?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 10:36PM
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jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)

Its 12.5 gauge, but I think 14 would have worked fine.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 11:00PM
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trianglejohn

Before my 8 fence went in, the deer seemed to prefer small trees with a diameter that matched the notches in their antlers. Once a tree gets thicker they move on to something else. I found that sticking any kind of rod or stick around the trunk help them to move on. They never knocked things out of the way to get at a sapling to rub on.

Putting up a tall fence has changed everything. I first put up a plastic deer netting fence but it was cheap and broke down in the sunshine in less than a year. Before it completely disappeared I slowly changed it out with welded fence wire, eight feet tall on ten foot t-posts drove in every 15 feet or so. I have an acre and a half yard/garden/orchard. I still have a few gaps to fill before the entire place is a deer proof fortress. Once deer are not allowed to come in, they quit trying. Its as if they no longer recognize my garden as even a possibility. Even if I leave the gate open one night by mistake, they don't even try to get in. I think it is because they don't smell deer smell leading them in. So it is as if they don't even see the garden.

Large, mature deer have the worst flavor. For tasty meat you gotta eat the young ones. When it comes to my garden, I show no mercy.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 2:46PM
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