Thursday, November 29, 2007

Landscape and Nursery - Deer Activity

Deer damage can be more severe starting this time of year. The following is a short article on the subject.

Be cautious when driving because deer are all over the roadways in the evening and morning hours. Four things are causing lots of deer movement at this time of year: 1) Cold weather tends to encourage deer to migrate around an area. They hunker down in cold, wet weather. 2) It is bow season and this makes deer jumpy. 3) Farmers have cut most of the corn fields and soybean fields at this point and the deer will migrate from the fields toward wooded areas. 4) Finally, it is still mating season so deer tend to migrate around looking for each other.

Monitor and protect your young pansy plants since deer love to browse on them if they are out in the open. A local facilities manager in charge of deer spraying called this week and said that he had noticed that the deer were particular about which plants they ate in an unsprayed pansy staging area. He noted that when they planted “majestic giant” pansies that the deer did not attack the beds as much.

Also expect more deer damage in general in landscapes now that that crops are harvested. Take measures to protect sensitive plants. Repellant techniques such as soap hung on trees and shrub and human hair can be used on a small scale. Some areas may require electric livestock fencing to help keep deer away (contact your extension office on how to "train" deer to avoid these electric fences). In nurseries, a tall deer exclusion fence may be necessary to protect valuable plants.

Adapted and modified from an article in the November 16, 2007 edition of the Greenhouse TPM/IPM Weekly Report from the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension

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