It’s the most wonderful time of the year – for most of us. Christmas tree farmers might say otherwise. They have to deal with the threat of deer damage, which can impact their harvest. Deer are naturally curious and would constantly taste things to learn more about the world around them.
While deer damage differs across regions, counties, and even among neighboring farms, there are two major types of deer damage to take note of. Horning of mature Christmas trees usually occurs during fall. As antlers mature, deer scratch a hard-to-reach itch on the back of their head or on the horn itself against the bark of a tree. Horning is also a way to mark territory, a hormone-driven assertion of superiority. Deer usually horn the same tree over and over again. This leads to broken tree branches and stripped bark, which eventually kills the entire top of the tree. Permanently cracked and discolored bark is also a nesting ground for pests and diseases.
Browse damage on young trees is a headache for many growers. Deer like to bite off buds, tips of shoots, whole shoots or branches, and sometimes even the entire tree. Year-old trees are a deer favorite due to their high salt content.
Deer damage can be costly if not addressed early on. Trees have to be pruned and sheared to bring them back in shape. Tree quality and profitability are also reduced. A tree that could have fetched a premium price would have to be sold at a bargain, or it could be relegated to be just a wreath tree.
There are different ways to protect Christmas tree farms from deer damage.
Made from polypropylene fabric, corrugated cardboard, or burlap, place tree wraps around trees to prevent deer from damaging the bark. Apply the tree wrap in the fall when the tree starts to enter dormancy. Remove it in early spring when the temperatures start to rise again. An easy way to remember this is to wrap your tree on Thanksgiving and remove it on Easter.
The installation of agricultural fencing is a more permanent solution to your deer problem. Whether it’s a wooden fence or an electrically-charged wire fence, make sure it’s high enough so deer won’t be able to clear it. Work with an agricultural fencing contractor like Straight Shooter Game Fencing for expert agricultural fencing installation services.
In some cases, substances like dried blood, egg powder, or sulfur are effective deer deterrents. These give off a foul, decaying odor that keeps deer away.
Another strategy would be to set up feeding stations away from the trees. Doing so diverts deer herds to other areas.
Christmas trees are the most iconic symbols of the season; these preventive measures will help keep deer inflicted damage at bay.
Straight Shooter Game Fencing works with property owners throughout the US to provide agricultural fencing at competitive prices. Straight Shooter Game Fencing guarantees a professional agricultural fencing installation on your property no matter the size. No job is too big or too small and no terrain is too rough. Get in touch to know more.