How to keep deer away from new trees

You have just purchased a new tree, brought it home and dug a hole to properly plant it. All the while your local deer are watching and planning their attack. Left unprotected there won’t be a leaf left on the tree by morning. All the new growth will be nibbled off. Your investment is gone.

cattle panel enclosure
Enclosure constructed using cattle panels

We live and work in deer country and have found a few simple tricks to protect our new plants and trees. You need to have a fence around the tree(s) and meeting the following criteria helps.

  • High enough so it can not easily be jumped.
  • Large enough so the deer can’t reach the trees without jumping in.
  • Small enough so the deer don’t see an easy landing point.
  • Easy to construct.
  • Looks good.

Our solution has been to use 2″ diameter wooden treated “tree stakes” which are pointed on one end and “easy” to drive in to the ground. These support the fencing and here we use “cattle panels” which are 16′ long and 50″ high and are made from heavy galvanized steel wire.

tree stake
Tree stake

The cattle panels can be bent nicely so your enclosure is an oval, or round, and for our trees, using 3 of the panels makes a nice enclosure that will fit at least 2 trees. Hooking them together is done with steel tie wire, easy to install and remove if you want to move the enclosure. Note in the image below that we have lapped the 2 panels we are connecting, that allows for a nice curve.

cattle panel connection
Connect cattle panels using tie wire

While keeping deer out is the object, humans need to get into the enclosure for weeding, watering and pruning. Cut a short length off of a 16′ cattle panel and attach it using shackles, zip ties or tie wire to form a door.

cattle panel door
Cattle panel door

Some sort of snap will keep the door closed, and it’s easy to open.

Cutting cattle panels is easy if you have a “cut off tool/grinder”. We are lucky to have a cordless version so we can take it to the project site. Otherwise a hack saw will work but it will take quite a bit longer.

cut off tool
Cut off tool/grinder

Tips

  • Use a large tree instead of a post. Looking at the top image you can see that we actually have two trees helping to support this enclosure. Drive a screw into the tree and attach the cattle panel with tie wire.
    tie wire
  • You can support your young trees using the cattle panel enclosure and tree straps.
  • Where to get all this stuff? Farm supply stores are where we go. Lowes and Home Depot also sell cattle panels and tree stakes although they don’t stock them in every store.

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Rollie Herman

President of Straps to Go's parent company, Westpac Marine Services, Inc. Bicycle rider, cook, husband to an avid gardener

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