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They got my fruit trees!

Posted by cedarglen Zone 7 (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 8, 10 at 0:05

The deer, that is. I recently transplanted a young plum into what I'm hoping will one day be an orchard... right now it is just an area with several young trees that I bought and planted when they were sold bare-root. Anyhow, last summer the deer swept through one night (when I didn't know better) and decimated my three apple trees. I wasn't sure if they would survive. They did, but they look pretty pathetic and don't seem to have matured at all since I bought them. They just look like twigs coming out of the ground with a few leaves... Now to the plum tree - I transplanted this the other day and didn't have time to put a cage around it before dark. I always use cages now, and I should have known better & got my flashlight out to finish the job. The deer found it and they broke a bunch of branches off and stripped the others of leaves. I think it's worse than the apple trees - so frustrating! This was a grafted plum that was going to bear 4 different kinds of fruit. So here is my question - do you guys think the tree will survive? Will those nude branches grow leaves again next spring? The leaves were totally green yesterday, but of course they would soon change color and drop since it's already October. I hope this will somehow help the tree. How do you think the current season will affect the tree's recovery? Any ideas or suggestions for getting all of these trees past their unfortunate start?
Sigh... and to think "Bambi" was my favorite movie when I was a kid.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: They got my fruit trees!

I feel your pain.
I would make sure to get the cage up and just leave be till next spring. Once the tree starts leafing out you can tell how much damage was really done. Also the initial health of the tree and how stressed it gets over the winter dormancy period will either help or hinder things.
I finally put up a fence to keep the marauders out!

RE: They got my fruit trees!

Sorry about the plum tree - that would be so disappointing. Rabbits eat the lower trunks of my young trees if I don't wrap them or cage them. Last year I made a big chicken wire "pen" that enclosed all my small arborvitae, some shrubs and a couple of trees instead of doing them individually. I still saw rabbit droppings in the snow around the choke cherries!

As Flora said, just have to wait and see about your plum tree. Good luck.

RE: They got my fruit trees!

Cedar- Since it's so late in the fall, I'm hoping your plum tree will bounce back fairly well. Deer are always a challenge, especially this time of year, when there's less for them to eat in the fields.

Flora- A fence is an excellent idea. Do you have an 8' deer fence, or something else?

Schoolhouse- I think we must have rabbits, but I've only ever seen one, years ago. I think the barn kitties discourage everything but the deer, from coming this close to the house.

RE: They got my fruit trees!

For my vege garden & some fruit trees, I put up a 8' wire deer fence with wooden posts. In my ornamental garden with my espaliered fruit trees, I put up a 5-6' wooden fence. The lay of the land for the wooden fence in such that on the deers side it is closer to 7-8' as the land slopes away some.
The varied heights of the uprights makes it harder for them to discern the real height.

and an espaliered apple tree.

I don't have a pic of my wire fence yet.


RE: They got my fruit trees!

flora, like the fence very much. You must have great patience to try an espaliered fruit tree, congrats. It reminds me of of "The Victorian Garden Series" with Harry Dodson.

RE: They got my fruit trees!

Flora- Beautiful fence! I'd love to have something like that around my garden :)

RE: They got my fruit trees!

Very pretty and very clever.

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