Deer rub damage to white pines

dwheeler at dwheeler at
Sat Nov 7 12:06:09 EST 1998

In article <71ur73$tt0$1 at>,
  mcour at wrote:
> Some of our white pines are experiencing damage from deer rubbing their
> antlers.  The pines are about 7' tall and 1" in diameter.  The damage is 1-2
> feet from the ground and in some cases involves the removal of bark for
> nearly the complete circumference over 6-8" of the trunk length.  On fruit
> trees, I read not to use any type of dressings.  A couple of non-experts were
> advising me last night that the trees would suffer no substantial damage if
> they were wrapped with an appropriate dressing.
> So, what are your expert opinions?  Should I leave the wounds untreated,
> treat with some sort of protective covering, of cull the damaged trees?  How
> serious a threat is this to the health of the tree and how much benefit might
> I expect from whatever mitigating action I take?  I am planning on having my
> consulting forester look at the damage and give his opinion, but I like to
> get opinions from as many experts as possible.
> Michael Courtney

This may or may not help. I attended a conference several years ago, and met
a man from northern California who was starting a company selling oil of
garlic as a deer repellant. The garlic came in handy clip-on capsules which
could either be planted near the tree or actually clipped onto a branch.

The advantages: Deer and elk are extremely sensitive to the aroma, and
supposedly will not come within 100 feet of the aroma. The container, while
plastic, is biodegradable within two years.

The disadvantages: the capsules are very small, and difficult to see (about
1.5 inches in length, about 1/4 inch diameter). Determining whether a tree
has been clipped or not takes some time. As I recall, the product is rather
odiferous, even through the plastic. It caused my eyes to water.

Also, deer are known to spread mycorrhizal fungi. This product may decrease
their presence, along with other beneficial mammals.

Daniel B. Wheeler

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