Azaleas eaten last summer

Asked March 15, 2019, 12:18 PM EDT

I have successfully protected a row of azaleas with plastic netting for many years from deer. Last year something got under the netting and ate the azaleas to the ground. It also ate nearby Jap Stiltgrass. It did not eat Creeping Charlie which took over the area. I plan to switch to vinyl coated fencing. Please advise on the spacing in the fencing. Are 2 by 3 inch openings adequate?

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

You may have increased deer pressure, as the deer population has boomed in the past lush years. Thus there is more pressure on your plants. Deer will push down on netting draped over plants, or near the foliage, and simply eat the part of the plant that protrudes. Repeat. They can also jump over or push under netting.

Wire fencing is more effective that netting, unless plastic netting is staked far from the plants and is many feet high. Openings should be closer to 1".

We have a lot of deer prevention information on our website. Search 'deer' and look at the various links, too.