Do deer bother Japanese Maples?

daisy_lee(5)June 23, 2006

I just bought a Crimson Queen Japanese Maple in a 3 gallon container. I am not sure if I should plant it in the ground and risk it being attacked by deer or plant it in a larger container and leave it on my deck, which is not accessible to wildlife. If I plant it in a container what kind of soil is recommended and what size container?

Thanks for any advice!


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We have a terrible deer problem in my neighborhood, and they have attacked my Japanese maples only once. I have about 20 JMs, and a deer once once ate a couple of branches off a newly planted Acontifolium. I had bought the Acontifolium as a newly grafted plant and grew it in a pot on my deck for the first year, and planted it late last winter. Shortly thereafter, a deer took some bites out of the maple, but they haven't bothered it since. They have never snacked on any of my other JMs, and I have at least 10 of them growing in spots around my yard other than my deck and patio.

If you aren't sure, you might plant your maple in a container on your deck until it gets larger. I have a number of JMs growing in containers on my deck, patio and other spots around my yard. I use a high quality soil mix (Metromix) and prefer plastic pots or glazed ceramic pots. Regular clay pots dry out much quicker, so need watering more often.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 12:35PM
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I live in a deer infested woodsy area and the deer love all maples. They'll stand up on their back legs and grab the low hanging tree leaves. I tried planting a new JM but it was decimated by the deer eating the leaves and young branches. Good luck! PIM

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 9:59AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

There is no point in planting a bunch of stuff among deer and not having a good tall fence. If a fence is too expensive then you can afford to have thousands of dollars worth of plants at their mercy, damaged whenever they amble along and take a notion.

Deer are vulnerable to winter food scarcity despite being native to cold climates and will eat plants down to nubbins in a hard winter that have never been touched before during the whole time you have lived there.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 11:12PM
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jah_in_ma(z6 MA)

As bboy said, in a bad winter they will eat anything. Two years ago just as my maple's buds were swelling in late winter, a group of deer came through and ate about 80% of the buds. All the trees have come through just fine, but my battle continues with deer. Most of my growing season I try to keep up with the smelly sprays on the maples and other plants. If you have the one tree you build a small cage around it for the winter/spring season. Good luck.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 8:14PM
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This past winter a deer ate about half of my JM. One side has sprouted leaves and looks good; the other side does not. What is the likelyhood that the eaten side will revive?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 5:54AM
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jayco(5b NY)

In my area deer will eat JMs but it's not their favorite. I spray all mine spring through fall with a deer repellent. In the winter I do have to cage or net them, since otherwise they can get decimated. But this applies to most of my plantings.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 9:25AM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

They don't bother my JM's much...but then I spray mine year round. If there were an attractive way to fence my front garden (where all my maples live) I would...but there isn't a practical/aesthetic way to do so.

I DO have little chicken wire cages around all their trunks to keep the males from racking them.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 10:17AM
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jayco(5b NY)

Oh yeah, and if you have rabbits they will sometimes gnaw the bark of young maples, and eat the tender new leaves.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 1:59PM
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Yes the deer ate it. Is it a gonner or should I salt it so they enjoy eating the rest of it that much more?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 9:10PM
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How about I squirt some ketchup on it?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 9:14PM
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jayco(5b NY)

I would prune off the deer-damaged parts (there's actually something in the deer's saliva that can be harmful to plant growth), and then either regularly spray or cage the tree. Japanese maples are reasonably tough, and it may well come back to life, if it isn't too far gone. I wouldn't necessarily write it off just yet.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 8:02AM
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There is a deer repellent called Plantskydd which is made from blood and lasts 6 months. I tried it last year and it seemed to be quite effective. See link below

Here is a link that might be useful: Plantskydd

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 7:14PM
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jayco, thanks for the feed back. I'll give that a try.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 5:45PM
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jayco(5b NY)

I forgot to tell you, I had 2 that were pretty heavily browsed, and both are still living. One of them is fine; the other is pretty poorly shaped now, but I'm just going to wait until it gets bigger and prune it.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 9:12AM
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