Deer damage to thuja

Asked April 23, 2020, 7:21 AM EDT

Deer destroyed all my thuja. Ripped off all the bark. The bottom appears to be alive but the top is brown and sick. Can the tree be saved? They are smaller trees, approx 3’. Can i cut the main truck below the deer damage to allow the tree to survive?

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

Deer can be brutal to the bark of young trees as they rub the 'velvet' on their antlers off. Unfortunately, depending on which type of Thuja you have, they also find it delectable to munch.

While you could cut the top off, the bottom would likely survive but it will never likely cover over the brown wood there or become the shape you expected.
You certainly could give it a try if you want, and see what happens. If it were to grow 2 spurs, eventually you'd want to 'train' one to become the main leader and remove the other.
Any future trees should be protected with wire fencing.

Here is our page about deer: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/deer


Christine


Christine