Usually when you see a deer, you feel honored and excited. And when it’s a buck, you really feel like you’ve hit the jackpot! However, frequent deer sightings can sometimes veer more towards a nuisance deer problem depending on the impact they have on your property, particularly on your trees.
In fact, many homeowners who live near wooded areas begin to question whether or not deer activity can harm their trees. Aside from grazing, many homeowners ask why bucks rub their antlers on newly-planted trees, and if this behavior can injure young trees. These are very good questions, and important information to your overall tree care routine.
Continue reading to learn why bucks are rubbing their antlers on your trees, and how to stop them from causing any damage with this behavior.
Buck Behavior and Trees
Bucks rub their antlers against young trees because they are still flexible. There is a misconception about bucks who rub their antlers on trees. Many people in the past have assumed that it is due to the velvet that initially covers buck antlers. It was believed that this velvet was itchy, and bucks were simply relieving the irritation. But this can’t be true because antlers do not have nerve endings! Research shows that bucks most likely exhibit this behavior for a number of reasons. But the 3 most common include:
✓ To Mark Their Territory
✓ To Practice or Strengthen Neck Muscles for Battle
✓ To Arouse and Attract Fertile Does
This distinctive buck behavior can harm trees. It can create open wounds in trees and break off bark. This leaves a tree more vulnerable to diseases, infections, and pest infestations. If a tree gets sick, it can quickly decline and die. So it is necessary to take action because deer will come back to your trees, season after season.
You have a few options to protect your trees from deer interference. You can install a fence around your property, which will inhibit deer from being able to enter your premises. If you are not interesting in such a large investment, you can install a perimeter fence just around your trees. You can make these using sheets of welded wire mesh, or you can purchase manufactured tree barriers or ornamental metal grates on the market.
Be sure they are at least 5 to 6 feet tall, and reinforced by 8-foot-tall rebar. The rebar should be pounded into the ground at regular intervals around the perimeter of the tree. If this doesn’t work for you, you can use corrugated plastic drainpipe. Cut it in half, lengthwise, and wrap it around the tree.