Deer Season, Rutting, Antler Shedding, And Tree Care Services: What These Things Have In Common

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If you have lots of trees on your property, and you live where deer are common, your trees experience an annual problem. Well, actually it is a set of three problems, all having to do with the local deer. If you do not take care of these problems and try to prevent them, many of the trees on your property could die. Here is what rutting, antler shedding, bark stripping, and tree care services have in common.


In late fall, male deer get all hot and bothered by female deer. The males will come out of their hiding spots looking to mate, and as they roam about, they will ready their antlers for battle by rubbing them against the trees. This helps them shed the fuzzy living tissue on the antlers into bony, pointy instruments of impalement. Unfortunately for the trees, it also destroys the bark.

If that were not bad enough, the deer then urinate on the same trees to mark their territory. During rutting season, that is akin to dumping acid on the bark that is already damaged. If not protected, the trees will die over the cold winter.

Antler Shedding

When mating season is complete, the deer return and continue to rub their antlers against the bark of trees. This helps them break off the antlers at the base and shed them until spring. Now that the antlers are very hard and pointy, the bark takes even more damage than before.

Bark Stripping

Those poor trees do not take enough abuse. If the winters are especially cold and food is scarce, the deer return again to strip bark off the bases of the tree, all the way up to the first branches overhead, as food. Really bad winters can cause deer to strip entire trees of their bark, consuming it for food.

Tree Care Services

As much fun as it might be to see deer wander onto your property, they will annihilate your trees if given half the chance. That is where tree care services become a necessity. The professionals wrap the trees in burlap, something the deer will not ruin with antlers or urine. The trees and burlap will also be sprayed with a very bitter spray that turn deer off immediately. One lick or one nibble of the treated trees, and the deer turn and run off.

If the trees are already damaged, the tree service pro will bind the bare tree with a special medical tape just for trees. The tape helps the tree heal and develop fresh bark to protect itself. The tape also deters deer from returning and trying to nibble more bark. You could leave apples and corn cobs out for the deer as well, which ultimately feeds and distracts them from tree bark.

Contact a service, like Mark Crane's Tree & Arborist Services , for more help.