All the leaves are being eaten off my cherry tree, and branches being broken. Just as the tree starts to recover, and put out new growth, it is eaten again. Would anything besides a deer due this? All the other tasty deer food is not being touched.
If you don't see any worms, grasshoppers or other insects, and you are anywhere in a temperate zone, deer are a likely culprit. Unless you're somewhere where goats are about. Fencing is the obvious answer, whether physical or electric. A spray of urine, diluted one to five with water, is also often effective as a repellent.
Thanks for the response. I do suspect deer but am trying to find out if I could be wrong. What realy has me confused (and thankful at the same time), is that if it is deer, they have not eaten other stuff, and lots of their favorite plants are close to this tree. No evidence of insects or worms.
I have a seven foot black poly fence. No evidence of the deer going under or through. My problem then is they are going over.
I have seen deer do some strange things. One time they passed peas and lettuce right by to munch on tomatoes, which are ordinarily repellent to them. go figure! You might try looking for tracks, or going out once or twice late at night with a flashlight to see if you can catch him in the act. There's a slim chance something is coming up from the ground at night and eating foliage....earwigs do that around here, and snails or slugs too, if the plant isn't really tall yet. But none of these break branches.... I've found that a small circle of wire fence, as tall as the plant and not much bigger than it's spread, is often more effective than trying to enforce a perimeter around the entire area. Have you heard of baited electric fence? I've found it a very useful technique, whether alone or to beef up a physical fence. Basically you put peanut butter or some such on little foil tags every so often on the fence. The deer or other critters lick, and get a really good shock, and don't come near again for months!
Just found a few of my letuce eaten as well. The cherry tree was over 10 feet tall when first attacked last year. This year it was about 7-8 feet tall (shorter since the upper branches were broken off last year), and again whatever got it went right to the top. I must have a deer jumping my fence, but if anyone can think of another animal which will strip the leaves and brake branches on a cherry tree, and also eats letuce, let me know.
I have heard about electric fence for deer. I was trying to avoid them with the kids around. I also do not understand why the deer do not just jump the short electric fence, but I guess if they are baited it will work.