En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Bur oak bark damage done by deer

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Sunday - February 03, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Bur oak bark damage done by deer
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Just noticed that deer have been rubbing the bark on good sized, but young, bur oaks planted last spring. Mostly in one spot on one side of the trunk. Will this kill the tree? Is there something we can do to help with bark repair? Are deer attracted only to "young" bark . . . Particular kinds of trees? . . . Should we expect to wrap and protect even more mature trees? d.

ANSWER:

We searched far and wide and found only offhand remarks about the kind of damage deer rubbing could do to oak bark. Most of the damage dealt with has to do with deer stunting or killing young trees by eating the budding tips of the branches. Since Quercus macrocopa, Bur oak, is relatively fast-growing, this would seem to be a problem solved by time. The same appears to be the case with the bark rubbing. As the tree grows older, the bark grows tougher and thicker, and the rubbing will not damage it. As long as the tree bark has not been "girdled" or cut all the way around, it won't kill the tree, but it won't do it any good, either, and insects or disease could invade through that opening in the bark. It doesn't appear that deer are particularly attracted to one tree over another, but just to whatever is vulnerable and in their path. We studied several "repellants" recommended by growers, but they all have to be replaced after a rain, and seem to be mostly for protecting young seedlings and tender stem tips.

We did find a couple of resources discussing tree wrapping, which apparently needs to be done for a year or so, until the tree gets big enough or tough enough to resist damage by deer and other beasties. The first is "Newly Planted Trees Need Protection" by John Begeman of the University of Arizona. From the University of Minnesota Forest Resources Extension Services comes this article on "Tree Stem Protection." Of course, if you are really having problems with deer in your garden, you may have to consider something like deer fencing, which is a whole other subject. You are the only one who can judge how valuable the trees are to you, how old they are, and thus how near to being big enough to withstand the deer assaults, and whether vigorous measures are called for.


Quercus macrocarpa

 

 

More Deer Resistant Questions

Deer eating creosote bushes (Larrea tridentata)
November 04, 2008 - We have Creosote Bushes (Larrea tridentata) that grow wild on out 10 acres. The deer eat those plants all year 'round. Probably more in the dry times of the year. Just wanted to let you know that t...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen Privacy Screen for Maryland
November 19, 2012 - I am looking for an evergreen that will suffice to be planted as a privacy screen between my property and my neighbors. Looking to plant a row at the property line. The lot is shaded most of the d...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant trees and shrubs for PA
May 05, 2011 - My yard backs up to woods, and we have a herd of 12 deer who peruse the neighborhood. This winter, the deer went after bushes and trees that they previously have not touched: euonomous and leyland cyp...
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant shade shrubs for Lago Vista, TX.
June 24, 2010 - I purchased a home in Lago Vista, Tx. It has a very shady front yard. I want to plant some blooming shrubs that THE DEER WON'T EAT! I would prefer native plants for the area. What should I look f...
view the full question and answer

Lupines for attracting deer in South Carolina
April 06, 2007 - I live in SC and was watching a TV show called "Making it Grow" and they did a segment on Lupine. The lady on the show said that the plant attracted whitetail deer and I was wondering if that was t...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center