Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Prevent deer damage to landscape plants

Deer can cause extensive damage by feeding on plants and rubbing antlers against trees. In urban areas, landscapes may become deer's major food source. Damage is most commonly noticed in spring on new, succulent growth.

Because deer lack upper incisors, browsed twigs and stems show a rough, shredded surface. Deer strip the bark and leave no teeth marks. Damage caused by rabbits, on the other hand, has a neat, sharp 45-degree cut. Rodents leave narrow teeth marks when feeding on branches.

Practical management strategies include selecting plants unattractive to deer, treating plants with deer repellents, netting and tubing, and fencing. Placement of plants in part determines the extent of damage. Plant more susceptible species near the home, in a fenced area or inside a protective ring of less-preferred species.

Hungry deer will find almost any plant palatable, so no plant is "deer proof." Also, a plant species may be damaged rarely in one area but damaged severely in another.
In urban areas, landscapes may become deer's
major food source.

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