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By Rogger

Norfolk, United Kingdom Gb

I bought two Mexican weeping pines a couple of years ago and planted them out last autumn. I staked them and also put rabbit protectors around the stems. However, going for a walk today I now see that the &^^%$ deer have chewed off the bark above the rabbit protectors. Are the trees now effectively dead? There is a small sliver of bark left that connects all the way, but it is very small. I have altered my feelings towards deer!!



Hi Rogger,

We have had massive, and ongoing problems with deer bark-stripping and killing trees here too, so you have my sympathy. If there is still an intact strip of bark running vertically then your trees can and probably will survive. They have quite amazing powers of regeneration and the bark will slowly regrow, assuming they have no further problems to contend with.

Depending on the species of deer you have then, on future plantings, you need to place the rabbit guards at the appropriate height for the deer - we have Roe deer and they don't reach above hip-height, nor do they touch the lowest 12 inches or so of trunks, so guards cover the section in between.

Deer seem particularly attracted to coniferous trees, and the young ones in particular. I think the powerfully aromatic resin must attract them. Because of this we always put fencing around all newly planted conifers now, and only remove it once the trees are sturdy and well established at the trunk - generally after 5 years or so.

2 Feb, 2011


And I've found that rabbits seem to like digging at the roots of conifers, but leave the stems alone. Pity those people who've got both in abundance! Worthy

2 Feb, 2011


And just for good measure there are also the field voles that ring-bark saplings at, or just beneath ground-level. It's a tough life being a young tree...

2 Feb, 2011

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