This is the time of year when we see many, many well-established deer trails in our woods. Going in or out of our quarter mile driveway through the woods requires a sharp eye because we almost always encounter one, two or several deer along the way. There are other areas around our living area where we can easily spot a deer or two a few times a day.
Anyone who lives in an area where the
buffalo deer roam knows that those pesky herbivores will quickly destroy most any planting, bush or tree that they can get access to.
That's why we've enclosed our entire growing area with a 7' high deer fence.
This is a partial view of our older apple trees I snapped a day or so ago. They're planted within the fenced in area. (The tracks you see in the snow are made by a squirrel bounding over to stuff his cheeks with sunflower seeds in the pole feeder.)
And here are our smaller, dwarf apple trees also within the fenced area. They are doubly protected by a cage-like enclosure of their own which has a covered top. This double protection is because we've had so much damage done to the developing fruit on the trees in the fall by invasions of blue jays (and sometimes robins) who love to take big, ugly bites out of the ripening fruit and spoil it for us.
We learned the lesson of how deer can quickly destroy an unprotected planting of fruit trees in a very short time.
On our first homestead here in the north woods, one of the first things we did when getting settled on our piece of land was to plant eighteen small fruit trees. We (with a great deal of ignorance) felt we didn't have the time or money to put fencing around these young trees. And I had read that hanging cloth bags of human hair on the branches of the trees would deter deer from coming near them.
So I collected copious quantities of hair from a local hair salon, and carefully made pouches of hair to hang on our little trees. And you know what? It worked!
Until one fall night when we had a freezing rain which completely coated all my bags of hair with ice. The hungry deer moved through the area shortly after dawn the next day and totally destroyed each and every young tree.
Lesson learned, and we've never again planted anything we didn't fence in to keep the deer out as they will always assume we've provided them with succulent goodies to get their greedy little chompers on.