Deer Proofing for Winter

There has to be few things more frustrating than watching deer munch your favorite shrubs all winter long. Deer are attracted to tender shoots as a food source. Although we can never stop deer completely, we can slow them down. There are a few measures that can be taken in autumn to discourage browsing listed below:

Deer repellants
Homemade or commercial, have mixed success because deer become tolerant to the chemicals. If using repellants, know they have to be rotated or changed up every 3 weeks or so.
Remember that repellants have to be reapplied after a snow or if the shrubs get wet.

  • Fencing
  • Fences are the most reliable method.
  • Fencing individual specimens you’d like to protect:
    allows deer into the yard but protects plants you’d like to keep healthy
    is less expensive than placing 7’ fencing around the entire yard.
    also protects from more than just deer, think rabbits & porcupines.
  • For tall trees
  • Build the fence 4’ from the tree you’d like to protect, so the deer can’t just lean over & eat the branches.
  • Start the fence right next to the ground to prevent deer from crawling under it.
  • For shorter shrubs or plants
  • Build the fence a few feet higher than the plant so they can’t reach down and dine.
  • Check your fences weekly for weaknesses, so you can reinforce them if needed.
  • You may need to make the fences higher once packed snow accumulates.
  • Drain Pipes & Burlap]
  • Flexible drain pipes around tree trunks work as a good barrier for protecting them from being eaten
  • Wrapping shrubs in burlap also provide a physical barrier from being chewed.
  • Plant trees & shrubs they don’t like to eat such as barberries & lilacs.

Follow this link to Michigan state University Extension for a very comprehensive list of deer resistant plants: http://www.ipm.msu.edu/uploads/files/deer_resistant_plants.pdf

 

Sources:

http://news.psu.edu/story/182277/2008/10/29/protect-your-lawn-garden-deer-and-rabbits-winter

http://forestry.usu.edu/files/uploads/nr_ff/nr_ff_022.pdf