Posted: December 04, 2015

Though we've had an uncharacteristically pleasant autumn thus far in Minnesota, it's still hard to ignore winter looming on the other side of the colored foliage in Rochester and Winona. At this time of year when fall is easing into the snowy season, a few key things happen in the Midwest. First, conversations begin to start with observations about the weather. Second, every restaurant and fast food chain in the state suddenly re-discovers its pumpkin-spice mix. And third, the deer begin wandering about in droves. The first two are largely benign (if not pleasant) but the deer… oh, the deer can cause havoc for cars and lawns alike. If you manage to avoid hitting them as they prance haphazardly across the road, you still may have to encounter them once they start de-barking all of your trees. And the specialists at Maier Tree and Lawn will tell you that deer damage can be more of a problem than it seems.

What It Does

Deer damage, when extensive, can not only permanently scar a tree, but it can also kill it.  When a deer rubs the bark off the trunk, it's exposing the sensitive inner flesh of the tree to the elements, which can allow for disease or insects, to enter the tree. If the tree wound is particularly deep, the hole may not be able to fully close and it could become an ongoing “problem point” throughout the tree's life. This isn't really an issue if the deer are confined to the woods and get all of their antler-rubbing done there, but sadly our Minnesotan deer are generally the adventurous types.

Why They Do It

Part of the reason why your trees are getting the rub-down involves the growth cycle of deer antlers. Particularly around fall, male deer use tree rubbing to scrape off the velvet that covers their antlers. This is done for several reasons, but it largely involves trying to attract a mate and mark its territory. They scrape their antlers against trunks, which cuts into the wood and pulls the bark away. This is where those large tree wounds come into play. The scrapes can be deep and difficult to restore, especially if the deer damage covers more than one spot. This is all fine and dandy for the deer, but it can really put a damper on your winter when your trees are the ones suffering the consequences.

What You Can Do

There are some products that you can apply to your trees to prevent deer-damage, such as strong smelling sprays and repellants, but before making any spur of the moment purchases, make sure to contact a professional! The arborists at Maier Tree and Lawn know trees, and by extension they know deer as well. Fences and wraps may be a better option for some, but the first step for everyone is learning how to choose whatever protection type will work best for you. Contact Maier Tree and Lawn today for a consultation on your deer-damaged trees and tree wounds, or even just to request some safe deer prevention tips.

Call Maier Tree and Lawn at 507.286.8733 (Rochester) or 507.454.7000 (Winona) or visit their website here!

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