"Deer Management Cycle"
Guest blog post by Jenn Stumer, Appalachian Creations
Did you know that you can manage deer damage to your landscape and ornamentals by learning about their biological life cycle? This cycle affects their feeding habits which in turn could change how you protect your landscape. Here’s what you need to know:
Early Fall – The shortening days trigger certain hormones in the deer. Bucks tend to rub the bark of the tree with their antlers to help remove the velvet from them. You might want to protect your smaller trees from buck rubs by placing tree guards around the trunks. The deer are more attracted to the fruits and nuts that fall from the trees at this time of year, but they may still attack your perennials and shrubs. Spraying them with deer repellent will help. You can also put up seasonal fencing which is a mesh type with squares of 2-by-2 inches usually made of strong plastic.
Late Fall – The deer are concentrating more on the breeding game and still sticking mostly to the fruits and nuts. However, as the frost begins to kill off most of the perennials and the deciduous shrub and trees drop their leaves, the deer will graze turfgrass and woody trees and shrubs. Turfgrass damage will be nominal, but you should make sure to spray your trees and shrubs with deer repellent.
Winter – The deer’s metabolism slows down and they become less active. They will continue to eat woody trees and shrubs and graze turfgrass where they can. It is safe to remove the tree guards from your small trees.
Spring – Food intake is at its highest in the spring. Most of the females are giving birth and the doe needs to eat up to ten pounds daily. They will come after your tender perennial shoots, bulbs, and emerging woody shoots, flowers and buds. Be sure to spray all of these things with deer repellent to protect them and leave your seasonal fencing up till mid May (after the bulbs are done.)
Summer – The fawns are growing and will raid your landscape as often as they can. They love your perennials and will probably eat your lush tree and shrub growth. It is a good idea to keep applying the deer repellent spray to keep the deer away from your landscape.
Now that you have a bit of knowledge about how the deer’s life cycle can affect your landscape, be sure to take whatever protective measures you deem necessary.