What you need to know to keep deer from hurting your trees


ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo- We worry about deer running into traffic, causing damage to our cars, or when they eat our plants. But do you know what they can sometimes do to our trees?

In late August and September, a buck’s antlers reach their full Size. The velvet that has been around the antlers providing blood and nutrients to help them grow no longer serves a purpose, so it deteriorates, dries up, and peels away.

“It’s during this time that bucks are feeling this irritation and are trying to get rid of this velvet. And so they look for trees they can rub their antlers on that will help get that velvet off,” said Dan Zarlenga, with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

This is most common during the fall.

“This is the time of year. Like November and all that when they’re sort of in their rut and their mating season is in their peak,” Zarlenga said.

Damage to trees and shrubs can be extensive

“When people go out and buy expensive shade trees and bring them home the last thing they want is a buck to rub it’s antlers on it and destroy it,” Horticulurist Jeff Travers tells FOX2. “Bucks can cause damage to the bark that will actually stress the tree out. And if a buck comes back year after year they can kill a tree”

The only way to prevent this is with a physical barrier. It can be in the form of a drain pipe, or netting, Travers said. Larger trees may need a series of posts and chicken wire.

The problems stop in January and February when bucks lose their antlers.

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