Oh Deer


Deer eat hedges

I didn't notice the problem until last year when I found the bottom of my hedge had been "pruned" by deer. Eventually, hedges are permanently shaped. Around Kamloops, it’s cedar hedges that are vulnerable. Deer eat hedges down almost to the trunks, eating off all the green foliage as high as they can reach.

The deer-pruning gives hedges a shape it will never lose, says
Darren McMurray at Lyons Landscaping: thin at the bottom and bulbous at the top.

“They take about the bottom four feet off, as high as they can reach,” he said. “They take all the green off on the cedars. They love the cedar hedges.”

In most cases the deer won’t kill the hedges, but they destroy the very thing people sought when they planted the trees in the first place — the privacy that the hedges offer.

And the trees look goofy, like large, green mushrooms —
thick and green at the top and brown and spindly down below. The economic impact of deer grazing is significant as well. The cost of replacing hedges is expensive.

Valerius Geist, a noted deer biologist who now lives in
B.C., said mule deer in particular become extremely
comfortable living around humans. They like our
neighbourhoods because there are no predators and we offer
a tremendous supply of easy food. “Deer can become very tame,” he said.

The deer are not nibbling cedar because they are desperate for
food. Quite the contrary, they seek out diverse sources of
food such as cedar and Douglas fir as part of their natural
winter diet.

Fencing is the best protection. I purchased a plastic mesh fencing designed to be deer-proof from Purity Feeds. It's high enough that deer can't reach above it.  

“Fencing, fencing, fencing. And have lots of dogs running
around. But those deer will take on dogs any time of the
year. And they will take on cats, too. It’s funny at times,”
said Geist.

The damage of deer-eaten hedges is not funny.

my hedge 

Photos: Above David Charbonneau
Left file photo from Google images