Keeping Deer off Young Fruit Trees

Asked June 25, 2019, 2:00 PM EDT

Hi I live in a rural area and I'm looking for any natural way to repel deer or conceal the tree from their noses until it has a chance to root. They've destroyed or rendered ineffective every type of non-permanent barrier we've ever erected. Short of a 6' chain link fence is there any way to fool those crafty creatures?

Lake County California wildlife damage management deer deer resistant plants

1 Response

I would love to be able to tell you that spraying some of the "Deer Away" type repellents is all you need to do to keep deer off your fruit trees, but my own experience has shown me that a good 7' fence is the only sure way to keep deer off your plants. Repellents generally don't work on food plants and are too costly in the amount that would be needed for fruit trees. I have been able to get away with a 5' fence and an extra string strung at 6.5 feet (fence posts were 7' high) to fool the deer into thinking the fence was higher than it actually was for a while. But as soon as one deer braved that fence and found out the line at 6.5 feet was only a string that broke on impact, all of them were in there the next day. The only way to make a lower fence work is to either have two of them close enough together that the deer would have to make a very wide jump and risk getting caught between the two fences, or to build the fence at a 45 degree angle, again to scare them away from getting caught in it (https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjRtbrkwJTjAhW-JTQIHYupBjQQj... )
I have experimented with fences around individual trees also. They only work, if they are sturdy and properly ankered. It ended up being more work than just fencing in the entire area. Read more on deer protection here: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74117.html