15 Ideas To Stop Deer From Destroying Your Trees

May 1, 2019

While deer are beautiful creatures, they can quickly wreak havoc if they decide your trees and shrubs are their next delicious meal. Deer are much smarter than many people think, and the best way to stop deer from destroying trees is by understanding their habits and then outwitting them.

It is pretty easy to tell if your trees have been damaged by deer. Look for hoof prints in the soil, piles of round, black droppings, scrapes on tree trunks, and roughly chopped leaves. Remember, deer can reach up to six feet high, so if you have marks that high up on the tree, you are most likely dealing with deer damage. How do you prevent this from happening to your valuable trees? Here are a few methods to use to protect your trees from deer. 

1. Plant shrubs and plants that smell bad to deer around trees.

Deer rely heavily on their sense of smell and taste. By planting things they dislike around your trees, you will make them unappealing to the deer and they will go away. Deer-repelling plants with strong scents include:

  • lavender
  • catmint
  • thorny plants
  • garlic 
  • chives
  • boxwood
  • sage
  • rosemary

2. Plant ornamental grasses.

Deer do not like the sharp edges of ornamental grasses, and they will avoid eating them. Deer also know that large grasses are hard for them to digest. Planting ornamental grass like Lily Turf, Monkey Grass, or Fountain Grass around trees is a good way to protect them. 

3. Create levels in your yard.

If you can create levels or terraces in your yard approaching your trees, it will help to keep deer away. Deer dislike climbing stairs or inclines, and will get discouraged by different levels they have to deal with. You can also used stacked wood or sunken beds to deter them. 

4. Install tree wraps.

One common solution to deer destroying trees in Canada is to install tree wraps or netting. This can prevent them from nibbling on tree trunks. Tree wraps are also used to stop deer from rubbing their antlers against the trees to mark territory. Some consider them to be unsightly, but they usually will do the trick. 

5. Install fencing or electric fencing.

One way to try to keep deer off your property entirely is to install some type of fencing. Since deer can jump very high, it is important to make sure your fencing is at least 8 feet high. They will also climb under them so fencing also must be secured at the bottom. Electric fencing is another good option for deterring deer. After being zapped, they quickly learn to stay several feet away from the barrier. 

6. Try fishing line.

You can also install fishing line around your trees to confuse the deer. Stretch fishing line taunt between stakes that are 2 to 3 feet high. Deer will run into the line, get frustrated, and stop trying to get to your trees. This is a good way to confuse the deer. 

7. Use a motion activated sprinkler.

One trick is to add motion activated sprinklers around your trees. Underground sprinklers can be set on a timer for when to detect movement. High tech models use infrared sensors to tell when the deer are on their way. Deer take off in a big hurry when the sprinkler kicks on and starts spraying them. 

8. Let the dogs out.

To deter deer, let your dogs spend as much time in the yard and around your trees as possible. Not only will their scent ward off the deer, their presence will certainly keep them off your property, especially if the dogs are free roaming.

9. Use bad smells.

In addition to planting things that smell bad to deer, you can also place things around your trees that will make them stay away for a while. This could get them out of the habit of coming on your property to go after your trees. Bad smelling items could include garlic, mothballs, or fabric softener.

10. Hang reflective items in the trees.

Deer can be thrown off by the sight of reflective things dancing in the tree branches. You can use anything from small mirrors to pie pans. Hang them in the trees with hooks or fishing line. Lights in the trees might also help. 

11. Let things get thorny.

Planting thorny bushes or plants around your trees will do a lot to protect them. Deer dislike munching on a thorn, and will learn quickly that they don’t want to be bothered. Be careful though, because all deer are different. Some may decide you planted those delicious roses just for them to munch on. 

12. Hang wind chimes.

Deer are easily spooked by noises and will stay away if they are startled by them. Wind chimes in trees do a good job of keeping the deer away because the noise is unexpected and non-rhythmic. It will surprise them into running away.  

13. Use commercial sprays.

If you are OK with using chemicals on your property, there are several deer deterrents on the market that may do the trick. There are even some organic commercial sprays available. Be sure to follow the package directions precisely when using them around your trees, or call a professional for advice. 

14. Plant deer deterring trees.

There are several species of trees that deer don’t like naturally. Including these on your property will help keep the deer at bay. Try trees such as Magnolia, Ginkgo, False Cypress, Cedar, Black Locust, Hawthorn, or Hackberry. Check out this list for more.

15. Try texture-based repellents.

Deer also don’t like certain textures and feelings, and planting these types of plants near your trees is a good idea. Plants such as Lambs Wool or other fuzzy plants, or anything that is spiky. Deer like things to be easy for them, and challenging textures are not what they’re looking for. 

Stop Deer Destroying Trees on Your Property

For more tips on how to stop deer destroying trees on your property, contact the Alberta tree experts today.