Q: With an extremely high deer population across Minnesota, deer browsing could become an even bigger problem this fall, especially with regard to white pine. What options are there to protect white pine and other trees from deer?
A: There are two effective methods for reducing deer damage by browsing. The first is bud capping. Covering these parts will prevent deer from eating the buds and the newest, most tender shoots of the tree. To accomplish this, fold over and staple a small, square piece of paper around the terminal leader and bud to form a cap. Be sure to not staple through the stem of the tree. The second method is spraying trees with a deer repellant. Repellants have a disagreeable odor or taste, prompting deer to stay away from the treated vegetation. Check with a nursery or landscape store for repellants. These techniques work for most tree seedlings. You'll have to protect the trees until the buds are above the reach of deer, which may take five to six years.
- Rick Klevorn, DNR Forest Development and Tree Improvement Program leader