I have been trawling the web trying to find some reserach based data on which trees/shrubs are best to use.
I'm finding lots of speculation and opinion presented as fact - but do any of you forest managers out there have any hard data or experience on what are the most palatable species to be planting for Roe?
You often find willow mentioned, but that may be because it is fast growing, easily plantable, good for wet sites and cheap if you use cuttings.
I also find vulnerability listings, but these are not the same as palatability listings!
this paper might help you....in short,high numbers of deer will scoff virtually any saplings,so if you want to plant cheap,palatable species go for willow species.
Top tip:-buy from a forestry tree nursery(cheap),plus order 60cm plus stock(willow) then cut back to 15cm before planting and use the tops as cuttings....oh,and add some phosphate fertiliser to create the perfect deer lollipop.
Cheers, interesting to note even FC can't say with any accuarcy if/why some species are preferred over others. For broadleaves it suggests a target of 10,000 to 100, 000 saplings ha-1 which is a lot, I'm aiming for scots pine (ironically!) douglas fir, and larch, with some broadleaves for diversity.
It suggests oak and ash as being more tasty, but I need a diversionary crop in place this spring. Any oak I plant I want to save, but as I have willow on site already I am thinking about taking cuttings from those and planting in in some of the open wet areas we have.
That should entice the deer out into the open and keep them away from the regeneration. I have one eye on easy of stalking, but I'm happy for them to fill their boots at my expense unhindered when I think I have the numbers down . I'll be planting broadleaves and native conifers to form part of the future crop, but they will require guards - the plastic, not the armed type.
I am seeing a very interesting thing now - in the summer the heather on either side of the deer tracks was untouched, now the tips are browsed. Once you know what to look for is very noyicable, but I only went to look for it after seeing a pic of what to look for on the web, now I can see it everywhere. But only on the side where the path is - lazy deer can't bothered to reach too far!
Nordman fir seems to get a hammering from roe in it's first few years of growth, they like to take the tops out of it,
i also recall Mark H posting the roe took a fondness to the scots pine and monterey pine he planted on his piece up north of the border
plus the other factors of young plantations of norway spruce , scots pine, nordman fir etc
also provide cover and warmth for young kids something for bucks to mark a territory and help rid themselves of velvet on , and once this is all said and done, a little work on the surviving crop, could bring in a few extra pennies at xmas, plus with planting certain hardwoods you are lumbered with the extra hassle of self seeding, sounds great but not when the ash saplings takes over and the hard work begins sorting it all out
I think that most decidous trees are pretty attractive to them when they are only saplings, crab apple might be good then they will come for the apples and if you shoot them with one of them 300wsm's they will be ready cooked and in apple sauce.
ivy is very popular in the winter and can be quite a good deer number indicator. i e if all your ivy leaves have gone 4 ft up a tree over the winter then you will know there is quite a population probably of roe deer. if it is up to about 8-10ft then you know you have some reds.
bramble is very high on the list as well. if all of your bramble is disappearing from your woods it might be that you have muntjac.
so logically speaking if you grow cuttings of ivy and bramble around your shoot, whilst it might not endear (endeer?) you to the land owner it might help with your deer numbers.
on american forums they talk about planting apple trees.
A tricky problem…trying to grow trees in the presence of too many deer usually ends in tears. Guards (tubes/nets) help but they are costly, a pain to maintain plus hopeless against Sika and Red…plus Fallow I guess. Scots pine don’t do well in guards but if the deer are scoffing them as well then I suggest you buy more ammo!
Generally speaking, planted stock will be eaten in preference to natural regeneration when occupying the same site and broadleaf species get hit the hardest. However, you say you would like to grow Scotspine, Douglas fir and Larch which also happen to be high up on the menu of deer.
If you are determined to grow a few trees here and there then plant/fertilise/weed/guard plus maintain them regularly and you should have some success. If you want a good deal more woodland cover then consider deer fencing or a significant reduction in the deer herd for a few years until the trees are nice and strong.
Diversionary feeding alone may not be the answer.
Hazel coppice shoots are just about irresistible, all species of deer will even push thorn laden brash aside to get at them.
As some of the other posters have said, willow is as close to Roe muffins as you will find, unless you can afford to plant out well fed and fertilised roses.......
Roe deer can eat almost everything! Palatability is not an issue for them. They are used to changeits favorite food every season. Of course there are some very attractive but only for a short period each year, so you have to bear in mind WHEN are you interested in.
Anyway the best method is a chainsaw. Yes, only cutting and producing new offshots from the ground you will get more and better roe deer every year, especially if your neighbours don´t cut trees.
Regarding plants, trees and shrubs I think "picea" (sorry I don´t know its English name) is probably one of the most attractive for roe, Douglas fir also is a good one. Apple tree as well; oak, chestnut, willow (broadleaf in general), ivy and bramble (not a tree I know but very important in winter) as well.
More easy is to establish a food plot. A small piece of land could give you some surprise! Believe me. They provide high quality food where habitat is poor, and even in good habitat it can increase deer numbers, condition and reproduction.