Controlling Winter Deer Damage
For many, winter means peaceful days and visions of beautiful, snow-covered landscapes. For others, it’s also the season when hungry deer invade their landscapes looking for food in the form of their trees, shrubs and ornamentals.
There’s no denying that deer are beautiful, graceful animals that can be a joy to look at, but for some homeowners they’re also an incredible nuisance and this year they might be worse than ever. The combination of strong deer birth rates this year and the expected snow totals and cold temperatures mean that deer feeding pressure may be much stronger than last winter. Deer damage in the winter can destroy some of the most significant investments on homeowner’s properties by stripping plants of foliage and buds for next season. These are often plants that are extremely visible around the home, or are used as buffers between properties. some plants may become disfigured for years as a result of this damage, or be lost completely.
Deer diets begin to change around the end of October. Deer will stop eating annual and perennial plants, as well as grass, and begin to focus on acorns and woody plants. Deer rely on acorn mast to supply the bulk of their fall diet, and to prepare for the winter. If the acorn mast is low, it will typically correlate to more deer pressure in the winter. By early to mid-November homeowners will start to see damage on plants like azaleas and taxus. As temperatures drop and snow begins to fall, deer will begin to target almost any evergreen plant or tree that is available. Over the last few years deer have begun eating things that they would not have normally eaten, and deer resistant/deer proof plants have become increasingly more difficult to identify.
There are many theories on the best way to keep deer away from your winter landscape. some homeowners feel that fencing is the answer, but hungry are deer smart, agile and incredibly resourceful. They have been known to leap over, burrow under or push through fencing with relative ease. Snow can also damage fences, or give deer the ability to jump fencing they normally could not have.
The most effective way to slow down these hungry deer is to keep them on guard and off balance by implementing a strategy that incorporates a variety of prevention techniques. SavATree/Deertech offers multiple options for preventing this winter damage to all vulnerable landscapes. Utilizing treatment options, as well as our patented ultrasound technology, winter deer damage can be prevented in even the toughest neighborhoods. Your local arborist can provide treatment options based on the needs of the landscape, and the deer pressure in your area.