Mariton: Rubs Me Wrong

August 23, 2012

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

Just a little reminder, it is time to protect your trees and shrubs against buck rubs.  Deer antlers (which grow back each spring) are usually hard by Labor Day.    As the nights increase in length, testosterone levels in bucks increases, leading to more territorial behavior.  One of those behaviors is rubbing their antlers on young tree trunks along their favorite travel corridors.  A buck can completely girdle a young tree in a few minutes, which can be an expensive lesson for a homeowner.

The fencing in the photo above won’t deter deer from browsing on the tree, but it should keep antlers away from the trunk.

Fencing with stout posts works.  I have also had good results driving several posts around the tree (without fencing).  The posts have to be far enough from the trunk that the buck would rather rub the post.  They must also be spaced close together, so the buck can’t reach in between them.  Either way, now is the time to do that chore, especially if you know of a deer trail that passes near your yard.