Of course, you have heard about trees becoming damaged due to harsh weather conditions or from disease. But have you ever thought about the amount of damage deer can do to trees? That’s right, deer can be a huge garden pest that can cause a lot of damage to trees. But have you heard about Deer Resistant Trees?
Deer are often attracted to trees as a food source, particularly in winter when food is more scarce. This is also one way they can cause significant damage, as deer will eat more than just seeds, berries, and foliage. If they’re hungry enough, they’ll also eat twigs, buds, and even tree bark from the trunk, stunting the tree’s growth.
In addition, male deer can also cause damage to trees by rubbing and scraping their antlers on the trees in order to remove the velvet and then polish their antlers. Not only will this cause the tree to not look good, but it won’t feel good either. Tree trunks are critical for the survival of the tree, providing limb support and transporting nutrients and water from the roots to the leaves. Because of this, if deer damage the trunk, it can cause the tree to get sick.
Look for Deer Resistant Trees
One way to prevent this is by choosing to plant trees that are deer resistant—or that deer don’t or cannot utilize as a regular food source. Here are five fast-growing deer resistant trees for you to consider.
1. Eastern Red Cedar
Eastern red cedar is an evergreen tree that likely will not attract deer to your yard. These trees are fast-growing and can grow one to two feet each year. They also become rounder with age. Eastern red cedar trees can reach heights of 60 feet and widths of 20 feet. Because of this, it’s important to plant these trees about 20 feet apart, ensuring that they have plenty of room to grow. Due to their wide width, these trees make great privacy trees too.
Eastern red cedar trees have silvery bark. They grow gray-blue fruit on their branches, which can attract smaller wildlife to your yards such as birds and smaller animals. While deer will occasionally eat red cedar, it is usually only a last resort. As a bonus, eastern red cedars are also known to repel insects, making them a useful addition to your yard.
2. River Birch
If you are looking for a tree that will add curb appeal to your yard, look no further. River birch trees have a beautiful, striking shape. These are fast-growing trees and can reach heights of more than 40 feet tall. River birch trees have bark that curls and limbs that spread, giving it its distinct shape. This shape will especially be picturesque during the winter season, as it has the stereotypical holiday look.
Additionally, the bark on these trees is a pale color that will compliment any landscape. During the fall months, the glossy green leaves will fall off, revealing the peeling bark, which is salmon-white to brown in color. Again, deer only eat from these trees as a last resort.
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3. Red Maple
Choose a fast-growing deer-resistant tree while adding a pop of color to your yard by planting red maple trees. No matter which season it is, these trees have some shade of red on them. During the spring, red flowers bloom. In the summer, the leafstalks are red. During the autumn months, the leaves become bright red, and in the winter, there are redbuds that can be seen.
Red maple trees can grow anywhere from 13 inches to more than 2 feet each year. At maturity, they can reach heights of 40 to 70 feet tall. If you are choosing to plant a red maple tree, it’s important that you do not plant it near your driveway, sidewalk, or any type of underground pipe. This is because its roots are very shallow. However, these roots are also very adaptable, which means that red maple trees can thrive in a variety of climates and types of soil. Deer tend to not like the taste of red maple and therefore generally avoid them as a food source.
4. Cedar Deodar
Referred to as “the most graceful cedar” by tree expert Michael Dirr, cedar deodar has a very long life span, as they can live for 1,000 years. These evergreen trees grow at a rate of about 1 to 2 feet each year and can reach heights of 70 feet tall. Their width adds to their magnificence, as they can have a spread from 20 to 40 feet wide.
One big perk of cedar deodar trees is that they are low-maintenance trees. They are adaptable to many different soil types and are drought tolerant. Additionally, these trees are resistant to breakage and to storm damage. They also produce an aromatic oil, which deters insects. The height of this tree is its main protection from deer. Once the branches are out of a deer’s reach, deer can no longer forage from these trees.
5. Tulip Tree
If you are looking for a tree that blooms a recognizable flower for your yard but want to make sure it is a fast-growing deer-resistant tree, look no further than tulip trees. They are both aesthetically pleasing and functional, as they are ornamental shade trees. They grow rapidly, about 2 feet per year. At maturity, they reach heights of 70 to 90 feet tall. It’s important to plant them in areas with lots of space as they spread wide.
The leaves on tulip trees are glossy and green. During the autumn season, they become a golden yellow color. The flowers that bloom on these trees are greenish-yellow in color. Tulip trees offer very little ground-level food for browsing deer.
There is no foolproof way to keep deer from harming your tree. However, by planting one of the above five fast-growing deer-resistant trees, you are decreasing the likelihood of tree damage due to deer. While deer-resistant trees won’t repel deer, deer are not particularly attracted to them. Additionally, they all grow quickly, which is important as trees are even more susceptible to damage when they are just starting out.
Before choosing which of the above trees to plant in your yard, do your research to ensure you have enough space and the right type of soil for the tree you are looking to plant. Calling a professional arborist in to help is a great idea. At Mr. Tree, we can help you choose the best fast-growing deer-resistant trees for your yard. Reach out to us today.