Oh Dear A Deer: Deer Damage & Management

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Deer damage can be costly, unsightly, and even pose a health risk. During the harsh winter months when the food supply is low, deer will feast on your plants and tear apart your gardens. In some cases this damage can have long term effects and disfigure your landscape. Annually deer damage exceeds $2 billion nationwide. If that wasn’t bad enough, deer also bring deadly disease carrying travelers into your yard threatening the safety of your loved ones.

HOW DEER DAMAGE YOUR LANDSCAPE

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Deer Browsing Damage

Deer browsing: Damage to trees and shrubs can be extensive, affecting plant shape and exposing bare wood to disease and insects.

Mating “rut”:  During this time of year male deer are looking to clean their antlers of summer velvet, while at the same time marking territory during the breeding season. They achieve this by rubbing their antlers against trees to remove the velvet and by thrashing and battering the tree. Young trees, especially those 1 to 4 inches in diameter with smooth bark are especially susceptible, such as maple, magnolias and birch. Young, soft-wooded, pliable saplings, especially pine and bald cypress are also targets, and can quickly be reduced to stubs.

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Tree Bark Damage From Deer

Tree Damage:  Tree damage involves shredding of bark from a foot or so above the ground, to three to four feet up, exposing underlying wood. If rubbed all the way around, the trunk can be effectively girdled. If small trees are bent over by the deer, main leaders and smaller limbs can be broken off. Usually the damage is done over a 24 hour period. Because this is also a territorial action, the buck may revisit trees they like in subsequent years. Always keep in mind a buck in rut is an unpredictable animal. It has an agitated and angry appearance, and will often stand its ground and not be afraid. With its sharp antlers it is a clear danger, and challenging it or attempting to scare it away may result in an attack

WHAT ARE THE SAFETY ISSUES RELATED TO DEER?

Ticks: Deer can carry ticks that cause lyme disease. The black-legged tick, which transmits the bacterial spicohete that causes lyme disease, actually prefers deer as their hosts. Lyme disease is spread by these ticks when they bite the skin, which permits the bacterium to infect the body. Lyme Disease can affect the skin, joints, heart, and the nervous system.

Accidents: Over population of deer in neighborhoods can also cause car damage and accidents when they run out into the streets.

WHAT ARE THE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH DEER DAMAGE?

“Annual estimates of deer damage are reported to exceed $2 billion nationwide, including $1 billion in car damages, more than $100 million in agricultural crop damage, $750 million in damage to the timber industry, and more than $250 million in damage to metropolitan households (e.g., landscape plantings).”

HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY AND FAMILY FROM DEER?

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Tree Bark Damage From Deer

Fortunately, because deer go after the best tasting & easily accessible foliage, simple precautions can be taken to deter deer from your property. However; this means if your neighbors have a deer protection program and your property doesn’t, your trees & shrubs will be the most appealing to hungry deer.

RTEC offers a program that provides protection for your plants and trees on your yard. The custom program developed by our Arborist will:

  • Deter the deer from your property.
  • Protect plants from browsing deer.
  • Protect your family from ticks transmitted by deer.
  • Save you hundreds or thousands of dollars on spring landscaping aimed at repairing deer damage.

Get our Deer Management Program Today by calling 703.573.3029 or scheduling an appointment via our online calendar

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