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Old 03-27-2008, 08:58 PM
Acorn
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Deer damage to shrubs

Hello all! I had my landscape done last year and was given all the "deer proof" shrubs. (I know there is no such thing, but my landscaper told me he has NEVER had a problem with deer and these shrubs.) My Blue Rug junipers and Mugo pines are eaten down to the branches. My Boxwoods look like my 3 year old took a hedge clipper to them. The plants all appear to have survived this all you can eat buffet.
My question is: Do you think the plants can regrow the foliage? Should I rip them out and start again?
This winter everyone of my little shrubs will be getting a nice burlap wrap to protect them.
Thanks for your help.
James
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:04 PM
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Oh Deer

Sounds like you have West Coast Deer - they're pretty tough.

Boxwood is pretty much a lock on deer resistance, as is juniper. Never was a big fan of the mugo pine.

I suggest you look around the neighborhood and see what is not being eaten and start with that or look at the advertisers listed above.

There's always other options.
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:14 PM
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Nah, these are the East Coast Pennsylvania gated community variety. These suckers are not afraid of anything.
I forgot to add the arborvitaes (sp?) and the Rhodies to. Rhodies have no leaves, Arbs are stripped like the others already mentioned.
Driving around the community I see the arbs and rhodies and boxwoods all flourishing. I never would have thought that they would take every bit of greenery off of the junipers, Mugo pines, and Arbs.
I spent over $1000.00 on shrubs last year and the only things not affected are my Alberta Spuces and Blue Spruces.
Do you think they can come back or should I rip them out and start over?
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:40 PM
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Conifers (needles) plants rarely survive significant defoliation. The boxwood should be ok. Arbs (non-Arb. plicata) , rhodos should not have been planted in a deer heavy area.

Have you tried a deer repellant (liquid fence, deer out) ?
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:06 PM
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Go Away Bambi

I pretty much echo Greensmiths answers.

If these plants are surviving at other homes, they either have significant deer fencing (electric and/or 8'), or a spray program to keep them away. You may also have a more wooded aspect to your property than your neighbors do.

Also, deer have specific paths that they do like to follow and your property might be the preferred path. Look into deer netting next year to keep them off the plants.

Otherwise just start giving them names and get to know the families.
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Old 03-27-2008, 11:33 PM
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I agree as well. Deer eat different stuff everywhere but of the stuff you listed only the blue spruce and boxwood would usually be considered deer resistant in my opinion.
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Old 05-13-2008, 10:01 AM
Acorn
 
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Workable Solution to Deer Damage

We have had a good experience with DeerTech (Deer Prevention from DeerTech to Protect Plants from Deer, Better than Sprays Alone or Fencing) (formally Nature Technologies). The solution is not inexpensive but has protected our large investment in purchased plant materials.

The DeerTech solution focuses on changing the browsing behavior of deer. It is a combination of sound emitting devices and, particularly during winter months, repelent sprays. The devices emit a sound which masks the deer's hearing when it lowers it head to browse, making it nervous re: no hearing predators. With DeerTech you are signing up for an ongoing mitigation program, not a single solution.

We live in a CT area with very high deer pressure. After seriously evaluating enclosing 5 acres in commercial deer fencing, we went with DeerTech. We now have 14 sound units installed in 6 planting areas and are very pleased with the results. After approximately 6 months, the deer had moved on to other browsing areas. It is not 100%: in bad winters we still get some browse damage. In Spring, fawns will cause some browse damage. Apparently, they rely on their Mom to look out for predators. The devices cannot be heard by most humans. Prior to purchasing, DeerTech helped us the devices on our dog. Either the dog cannot hear the sound or does not care. We got no reaction at all turning the device on and off.


.
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Old 05-18-2008, 06:36 PM
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The Rhodos will come back fairly quickly if protected from her on out. I'd reshape the boxwoods, they will grow fairly quickly too. If the arborvitaes are still alive, they will probably come back, but may take 2 or 3 years to fill in nicely. We usually don't see juniper damage here, but the Mugos take a beating. Whether these come back or not depends on how severe the damage is, and it will be a slow recovery as well.
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Old 05-20-2008, 12:53 AM
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Coyote or Bobcat Urine works here in Austin where the white-tails roam the streets.
Up North, I'm not sure what's locally available, maybe Yetti Urine?:-)

Netting? What's the point? That's like wearing lingerie under a trench coat.

Sounds like there is something you are doing to your landscape that is attractive to deer; for instance, a particular foliar spray or fertilizer that attracts the deer. OR, perhaps you are the victim of a micro-ecology where all the weak deer are going to forage because they've been kicked out of their communities? It seems odd that your neighbors' plants of the same variety aren't touched but yours are. There is something other than your plants going on.

One thing you don't want to do is jump to conclusions and attempt a cure to an undiagnosed condition. This is true for plant health as it is to human health.

1) I would contact your local extension agency to ask about anomalies, or potentially different critters eating your stuff. Have you seen the deer eat these plants?

2) Before replacing plants, you should attempt repellants for the deer, and then compost/mulch/and trim them back. No sense killing the victim.

3) Make sure it isn't a feisty neighbor. This may seem ridiculous, but a well-informed neighbor with a grudge and a habit of psychotic behavior might be insane enough to spray sugar-water on all your stuff so the deer eat it.

my 2 cents
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Old 05-20-2008, 01:40 AM
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The netting is only necessary during winter months when there is snow cover. Otherwise the deer stay in the woods to browse. A dog is a great deer repellant, or any place with a lot of human activity, this may be the difference between you and the neighbors.
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Old 05-31-2008, 01:09 PM
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I'd be a little concerned if your landscaper told you he never had problems with arbs and deer. Must be he\she never used them before. Arbs are like candy to deer. Mughos will go the same way most of the time, especially in a hard winter. Never seen them go after boxwood or junipers, though.

Maybe some lead poisoning is in order??
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Old 06-06-2008, 12:31 AM
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I am glad I am a Californian. Deer here don't eat Rhodies, Boxwoods, or any conifers.

Wowee.
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Old 06-13-2008, 12:17 AM
Acorn
 
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Location: cleveland, ohio
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try a motion activated water sprinkler or they sell powdered urine. i usually just kick back and wonder why i never see them in the woods during hunting season.
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:23 PM
Acorn
 
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A quick update. I ripped out all the junipers and the mugo pines. They were an eyesore that I did not want to wait years to see improvement. I was about to rip out the boxwoods, but decided to give them one season to impress me. I wish I had before and after pics of the boxwoods, but they look great. They rebounded very nicely. When is the best time to prune the few wayward branches of the boxwoods and make them look uniform? Thanks for all the help!
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