Thursday, March 15, 2007

Damn *#%@?~% !!!!! Rogue Deer

I didn't mind too much when a young deer kept knocking over our sunflower seed 25 lb. container, exposing the seeds to rain. The squirrels and birds seemed to eat most of it anyway but destroying our Japanese maple Villa Taranto is more than I can take.

I was just livid when I saw the destruction. Grrr! The deer took off all the branches! Not a single one remains and it topped the tree as a final insult. I don't know if the tree will survive after such a drastic pruning but Japanese maples are tough so I hope it will recover.

I don't know what I'll do to keep this deer out of our yard. I've used a hot pepper spray in past years but the deer then seemed to graze on easily replaceable plants like tulips and sometimes a bit of bark and new growth of the service berries. They usually came to eat the birdfood and left the greenery intact or just nibbled a few choice things. Not a wholesale destruction of a tree. The problem is that I don't know what it will eat next. And spraying the whole yard is too much work especially when I have to respray after it rains. I heard that bloodmeal works as a deterrent so maybe I'll try that as I need to fertilize the plants anyway.

Two pictures are of the destruction and another of what the tree should look like.

On a happier note, here are a couple of me too photos of croci that just came up a couple of days ago.


Blogger Annie in Austin said...

As one who gardened with deer for 5 years, I really do feel your pain, Ki. We saw a 7-foot Japanese Black Pine ripped apart and killed, along with branch loss on most trees.
We ended up with wire cages for young trees - ugly but effective.

I hope the maple can rebound.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

7:34 AM  
Blogger DragonStone said...

Yikes! Sorry about the deer damage. We don't have to deal with anything like that here. There are deer nearby but the men who live in the woods are hunters so they pretty much keep the population down. I've only ever seen a deer once one early morning when I went out to water my vegetable garden that was growing in large pots. The deer couldn't get beyond the fence so it couldn't cause any harm.

8:01 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Annie,
I'm amazed they would eat pine. We've had many deer but none as destructive as this one. We had a herd of 6 deer a few years back and they just nibbled a few choice greens like my tomato plants and beans. This one is a loner and apparently likes our yard because I find poop all over our yard while I rarely saw any even with the herd.

We have too many small trees to place barriers around so I'll try the bloodmeal first to see if it works.

Hi dragonstone,
We live in suburbia and there's not much greenspace so you wouldn't think there's enough cover but not so, there's a flourishing colony of deer here. Many roadkill. Funny you mentioned the deer couldn't get beyond your fence. Apparently deer can jump an 8 foot fence. A friend who lived out in the country had to build such a fence around her sizeable vegetable garden to keep them out.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

On a high note, your crocus are pretty. I would also be livid if deer came into my yard and ate everything. I am lucky to not have that problem, but I do deal with rabbits.

I've also read that if you hang bags of human hair and soap from trees, the deer will leave them alone, but I've never tried it.

Good luck!

5:36 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Carol,
I've heard of hair used as a deterrent but not soap. Thanks for the tip. If the bloodmeal doesn't work I'll try anything before spraying. We have rabbits and groundhogs too who eat our vegetables so much so that I've about given up trying to grow beans tomatoes and greens (that's about everything isn't it?). I have a fence up but they manage to find a way in. Found a baby rabbit one year tangled in the fence material. The foot raw and bleeding where it was caught in the fencing. I released it and hoped it lived even though it would probably come back to eat all the veggies I try to grow. I feel like Sisyphus sometimes. The crocus come up every year. Really a carefree plant once you plant it and increase every year too. My kind of plant.

6:13 AM  
Blogger Annie in Austin said...

Ki, they didn't actually eat the pine needles, but tore off the branches. The worst time was in autumn, when young males butt against trees to show off for each other. A crew of them will trample over anything handy, just for the hell of it.

I picked up a copy of Patty Simons' list of deer resistent plants at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - the idea was to ring and disguise the delicious with less edible, highly scented plants, but I don't even know what would grow in New Jersey.

Here is the list by Patty Simons.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

11:27 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Thanks for the huge list Annie. I can say that at least one of the plants listed shouldn't be there - Serviceberry. The deer routinely graze on the tender new leaves. A great resource though.

I went to the local Master Gardeners garden where they had native plants and trees. I thought these were deer resistant plants but I saw chokeberry both black and red. I planted these but the deer loved the plants and would seek them out eventually killing both shrubs. They had a tall fence around the garden and I thought it was to keep people out on the off hours but now that I think of it more likely to keep deer out.

1:26 PM  
Blogger OldRoses said...

Barriers are really the only effective deer deterrent. They "cage" the trees at Davidson Mill Pond Park (the Middlesex County Extension office/Master Gardeners). If caging is not an option for you, you will have to rotate sprays. You can't use the same one all the time. That's what they do at Rutgers Gardens.

3:00 PM  
Blogger IBOY said...

Ki... Wow, that is really sad; Villa Taranto is my single favorite JM. The ONLY thing I've ever found that works with deer is a big honking fence.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Old roses, I can't contemplate putting up an ugly deer fence and I think the township has a law that says no fence over 6 feet tall something a deer could easily jump and the cost would be prohibitive. Thanks for the spraying advice. When I exhaust the homemade sprays and wacky ideas I may look for commercial sprays. I may try peeing along the border of our property in the dead of night. Probably get arrested for lewdness. Actually our dog pees in the yard and that doesn't deter the deer so scratch that idea.

Iboy, The Villa Taranto was a nice tree. It's one of my favorites too. Hopefully it will recover. The deer had an expensive dinner on us. It must think we're a 3 star restaurant.

5:35 PM  
Blogger DragonStone said...

Wow. 8'? My fence is approximately 5', I believe. I guess the deer wasn't brave enough to jump the fence that morning (or any other morning if it came again).

4:50 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

That's what I read somewhere. It may be and urban legend but I personally saw one easily jump a 5' fence even when hurt. We hit a deer, bruised it pretty badly but it just got up and jumped the 5' fence. Our hearts on the other hand, could have easily leaped an 8' fence. :)

12:41 PM  

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