Out, Out Darn Deer!!
With fall and winter on our door steps you’re probably thinking you’re out of the woods when it comes to deer damage in your backyard landscapes. Wrong. Actually, fall and winter mark the beginning of the worst seasons for deer damage. Deer will eat just about anything in the winter — their food supply is very low and they can’t be choosy. They’re hungry enough to eat vegetation that they ordinarily would not choose to eat.
As with other wildlife, land development has reduced deer’s natural habitat. Combine that with a lack of natural predators and easy access to your landscapes and modern-day deer not only survive, they thrive!
The most important thing to understand about fighting deer is that it’s easier to prevent damage than to react to it. So it behooves you to know your enemy and stay at least one step ahead of them. Deer are creatures of habit — they establish feeding patterns and return to the same spot over and over again, even when that same spot stops offering enough food for them.
Even just a few deer can cause significant damage to your landscaping. A single whitetail deer can consume, on average, 8 -12 pounds of foliage a day and in many areas of the country, deer overpopulation is a serious problem. With nowhere to go and not much left to eat in the dead of winter, deer can wreak havoc on shrubs, trees and gardens, and destroy new buds and leaves before they have a chance to grow, ruining your prospects for any spring growth.