I have an orchard on the edge of my forest on my homestead and I'm always looking for new ideas for protecting the trees from deer that is not overly expensive to accomplish. Any ideas from others who are having good luck with their orchards?
They make great solar electric fenses these days....they roll up and roll out quik and can make any shape...i have seen little old ladies set them up.....
I used to sit for hours and shoot ground squirles in the almond orchard but didnt do any good lol...just got to get um before they do..... i think best you could do is get a fense and a dog...maybe trim branches higher and do some tree sculpting...but will.amke it harder for you to harvest also. I hope i helped.
Deb --- We battled deer like crazy in our early years. While a fence is awesome (try a chicken moat for effective, low cost deer deterring: http://avianaquamiser.com/posts/Chicken_moat/), my husband did come up with a crazy solution that mostly worked. If you live in suburbia, this won't work, but he used a drill to turn a chain which made a golf ball clang against metal at intervals: http://www.backyarddeer.com/freeplans/. Five of these around our one acre core homestead kept out deer 98% of the time, but when a power outage let the deer creep in, they were no longer deterred. The trick is to make sure the deer never get a taste for those strawberry and sweet potato leaves or you'll have to work very, very hard to keep them out.
If electircity is an issue you could always make some windmill type noisemakers. We have a deer/goat type thing here called a mooflaun....(i think thats how its spelled) it can get anywhere...the only thing that keeps them away is a dog....i thought about training a llama....but i love my dog lol.
i've been dealing with this now for 60 plus years..I've tried everything..I actually prefer a tightly woven piece of fencing around each trunk..as it will keep the rabbits out..and if tight enough will also keep out the mice and voles..
nurseries use cardboard and staple it along one side it will last a couple of years..but in the summer you want the trunks to breathe so they don't rot..I have used "caution" tape but it can cause damage to the trunks when it gets moisture behind it..rot
the plastice tree guards that expand do work fairly well when the trees are quite small..
if you go to www.permies.com you can read about bone sauce
Bloom where you are planted.
We have placed netting over our strawberries with some success. When the netting is in place, the deer can't touch the strawberries. When the netting gets moved to work the strawberry patch and doesn't get put back, the strawberries tend to get heavily pruned.
We have also had a lot of success with 5' welded wire fencing wrapped around each tree in about a 3' diameter. This has worked well to keep the deer out. They can't jump into a 3' circle, so the tree is essentially protected. Problems with this approach include the fact that you don't weed as often, because the fence is annoying, the fact that the fencing costs more than the tree, and the fact that Sandy pushed the trees into the posts this year and rubbed them against it--doing a bit of damage to our young trees. But ... it's worked for the deer.
Indeed, the 5' fencing has apparently worked to keep the deer out of the 30'x30' garden, as well as the 75'x20' auxiliary garden we call our vinebed. It may just be that there's enough food to eat outside of the fences that the deer ignore the fences. (Yes, they've nibbled on our blueberries, our bush cherries, and our elderberries, but those seem to recover nicely following the nibble.)
Some new neighbour's of ours have some mastiff dogs and a pit bull. The deer seem to have adjusted their track through here to avoid the dog area, but perhaps not enough to rely on.
One deer book in the local library suggests an intense planting of herbs will keep the deer away, arguing that the herbs will overwhelm the deer's sense of smell. We've planted oregano and mint to test this out, but I'm not sure I can comment yet on whether or not it was successful.
And the LORD God took the man, and put him in the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. - Gen 2:15