Like us, deer love apples and other fruits; and they will turn to trees on home orchards to hunt for food. But, more than losing fruits, home growers will lose the appearance of trees if they allow deer to travel onto properties. Here's what you should know moving into fall.
In the late summertime, bucks develop thick dried velvet on their antlers that is unattractive and uncomfortable. They want to look sharp to attract female deer in the fall for mating season; so, they turn to trees to rub off the dried velvet and alleviate the discomfort. Rubbing antlers against trees, known as deer rutting, begins early in September and runs throughout the fall season. The trees can no longer grow once they are damaged by male deer.
To protect young trees from the threat of deer rubbing in fall, home growers should consider installing deer fencing around home orchards or tree guards around young trees in the late summer season. Installing fencing or tree wraps is the best tree management strategy for protecting trees against deer damage.