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  • George R. Lee

Can You Stop Deer From Eating Your Plants?

"Odocoileus virginianus", otherwise known as White Tailed Deer live in just about every area of Michigan. The reason they're called "white -tailed" is that they raise their rear tails with a flash of white signaling to other deer when danger is nearby. Deer are graceful animals and are swift runners (up to 35 miles per hour). Male deer are called bucks, females are called does, and baby deer are known as fawns. Deer live in family style herds most of the time and can live to be 10 years old or older.

Deer will eat from just about every tree, shrub, or flower they can smell, see or taste and of course that they can reach. As the author of this article, an avid outdoorsman and professional arborist for over 40 years I can confirm that deer will eat just about anything if they're hungry enough. They will reach up as high as they can (which is about 7 feet) and keep on feeding time and again until there's nothing left but a trunk and some dried out branches.

Contrary to what some resources suggest, if hungry enough, deer will try just about anything for a food source. I've lived in my home now for almost 4 years and generally see 4-8 deer each day in my yard. As far as I have seen, deer will feed on even the most resistant of plants. When renovating my property I was determined to have a "deer resistant" landscape. I asked lots of questions to my friends from the DNR, surfed the internet and read many articles about what types of trees, shrubs, flowers and even ground covers I could plant that the deer would stay away from.

My experience proved deer will take a bite out of just about anything once they get use to the taste. The shrubs deer seem to stay away from the most is juniper and barberry. Deer will even take a bite out of boxwoods if there's nothing else to choose from. Even if deer don't appear to like a particular plant today doesn't mean in time they won't come to enjoy feeding on it at some point. Once deer find their next meal in your landscape they'll be back time and again unless otherwise deterred.

For the sake of research I tried some over the counter products which I admit offer some level of short term control. There were also some commercial grade products I tried but found them costly and included byproducts that I didn't want exposed to my yard.

After trial and error and based on my own experience I've come to the conclusion that with all my attempts to keep these four footed friends from eating up my landscape, I too needed help from the professionals at Branch Tree Service, Inc. Their method of application provides wide spread, uniform coverage with long lasting control. We use Deer Pro which is organic based and made right here in the United States. Deer Pro can only be purchased by trained, certified and State Licensed professionals. It has no side effects that impact the health of the deer or our environment.

A single application (treatment) using Deer Pro spray can last up to 90 days. Obviously, deer feed all year round so only you can assess how much protection is needed to meet your goals. Based on the deer playing in my yard, I schedule at least 2 applications per year to keep their feeding madness and destruction to a minimum - one in late fall and one in late spring.

Even if your neighbor wants to keep replacing shrubs, flowers and even trees (such as dogwood trees) you don't have to!

If deer feeding is out of control in your landscape I suggest calling Branch Tree Service, Inc today at 586-756-7737 or requesting a quote online.

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