Deer like to eat the bark off of Aspen trees

Asked April 6, 2014, 5:05 PM EDT

Is there a way to save an Aspen tree if the deer have eaten the bark off of a portion of its trunk? Is there such a thing to wrap the tree in the eaten area? Spring is upon us and the trees are going to come out of the winter state but I noticed all the trees the deer ate last year's winter, died that summer.

Conejos County Colorado trees and shrubs

1 Response

Yes, deer so like to strip the bark from trees during the winter. The bark underneath is nutritious. Bucks may have also rubbed their antlers on the trees damaging them. If the damage is 50 percent or more around the tree then it likely won't be long lived. If it is between 25 to 50 percent of the diameter of the tree, then it may or may not live. If the damage is less than 25 percent of the diameter of the tree, then in time it may heal and be a strong tree.

There is nothing recommended to put on the wound to a tree. When a tree is damaged it will begin healing itself right away. Putting a wound sealer may slow down the healing process. The healing process will take a long time as it is.

If there are places on the tree that could benefit from some trimming, then use a sharp knife or trimmer and do so.

As for keeping the deer off of the trees, it is best to protect the trees. There are several methods that may work including fencing, wraps or deterrents, I am including the URL to a fact sheet on deer management. The fact sheet will have suggestions on controlling deer and keeping them off of trees.

If after looking over the fact sheet you still have questions, get back in touch. You can contact me through the eXtension network or call 719-274-5200.

Good Luck,