Sacrificial planting - how to distract roe bucks?

mikeakc

Well-Known Member
Evening all,
I have a couple of bucks caught on trail camera fraying and nibbling at some shrubs on a landowner's ground. As a very keen horticulturalist she is not happy about this at all. The issue I have is I can't seem to get hold of them during daylight hours and all this is occurring between 1am to 4am. I'm sure I'll track them down at some stage but of course this issue will not go away with the removal of one or two bucks.

Has anybody heard of 'sacrificial planting' being undertaken? I wonder whether she could plant some key species near this problem area to distract future marauding bucks? If so my questions are:
  1. What would be good browse to keep the bucks off the specimen shrubs (preferably of some horticultural merit rather than low herbage)
  2. What would be good species to be a scapegoat for fraying bucks rather than her specimen shrubs.
If any of you have any experience with this type of groundskeeping I'd be grateful to hear your advice.
Thanks,
Mike
 

Hanechdene

Well-Known Member
In a hard wood plantation within our woods we were advised by the forest commission to leave the silver birch (which was self generated) to act as a sacrificial crop as the Roe and Muntjac would be more interested in this than the Beach, Cherry and Oak.

Really bad advice, nearly all the hard woods were ring barked as a result of not being able to shoot the offending deer due to the amount of silver birch! No other part of the wood has sustained this amount of intense damage.

If you want to protect trees or shrubs either fence them or use tree guards or remove the deer that are causing the damage.
 

Silvius

Well-Known Member
Roses seem to be the most favoured garden browse at this time of year. She will lose some early flower buds but roses take pruning very well and won't be killed or ruined.

Tree guards will be ugly but may allow a shrub to get to a large enough size.

I would look for fast growing trees as fraying stocks, several that you can coppice back often to keep producing a number of stems the right size every year. Willow or hazel coppice could be good. Willow coppice with the yellow stems can be attractive in winter. (Cant recall the name, it has been nearly 2 decades since I was head gardener at a country house).
 

bogtrotter

Well-Known Member
The trouble is roe tend not to eat a lot of any one thing and will move about taking a couple of bites then moving on to try something else ,roses, raspberry, willow have also found that broom although supposedly poisonous gets heavily browsed especially in winter.
Some of the above may help but won't alleviate the problem, shoot any young bucks leave the master buck and some tree guards would be the best option.
 

PaulCat

Well-Known Member
Willow coppice with the yellow stems can be attractive in winter. (Cant recall the name, it has been nearly 2 decades since I was head gardener at a country house).
I think the yellow and red one is Salix alba (they're all Salix, I can remember that much). Maybe the deer chew them for the aspirin? ;)
 

jimbo1984

Well-Known Member
In a hard wood plantation within our woods we were advised by the forest commission to leave the silver birch (which was self generated) to act as a sacrificial crop as the Roe and Muntjac would be more interested in this than the Beach, Cherry and Oak.

Really bad advice, nearly all the hard woods were ring barked as a result of not being able to shoot the offending deer due to the amount of silver birch! No other part of the wood has sustained this amount of intense damage.

If you want to protect trees or shrubs either fence them or use tree guards or remove the deer that are causing the damage.
Good old FC lol
 

philip

Well-Known Member
I’ve had the opportunity to install 3 deer gardens and to date they have worked reasonably well to good

My first mistake was to get plants that were supposed to be the bestest and every deers favourite, after a short learning curve I took down the names of the plants they actually consumed in the gardens ( some “ favourites they actually ignored all the time”) got these ordered up in advance and cleared some brash 100 - 130 yds away from the garden in three areas 10x10 mtrs each in a sort of linked line and fenced it off with 5 ft Plastic deer mesh and let everything grow making sure any prolific growers were cut back to create a bushy growth and a Roe to Muntie height, next season was ok with say 50% usage since then 3 years on damage to the real house garden is around 10% I did initially remove all the fence and last year re installed a 50 yd x 5 mtr deer fenceline in between the deer garden 10 ft away from plantings and I have reduced the Muntjac and left the Roe and the boss man has stopped wringing out his hands and muttering obscenities about how much he hates deer

Success I would say is 8 out of 10 and better this year, good luck , it can work but it will need maintenance and stealth cameras with a big bucket of patience
 

mikeakc

Well-Known Member
Thanks very much, that advice is really appreciated. Would you be able to give me a list of species that they did seem to enjoy browsing on please? The landowner in question has a Gardner so this might be something she would be interested in pursuing. Cheers, Mike


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Hayduke

Well-Known Member
Another couple of weeks and you might be able to shoot at 04:00hrs. Lads I know who are full-time deer managers are getting on to them at 04:30hrs now.

Or do you know where their lie-ups are? Can you catch them napping?
 

mikeakc

Well-Known Member
No I’m not sure where they’re lying up yet. I’ll keep you posted on progress.
Cheers.


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NickJ

Well-Known Member
It's the willow with the long, thin (rather than round) leaves, find a tree, cut some whips and just stick them in the ground, they'll grow. Put one every ten paces or so, the bucks will fray/browse away on them over most things. (Salix Alba or white whillow.)

I've used these in both horti and silvicultural situations to effect for many years.
 

Freeforester

Well-Known Member
In a hard wood plantation within our woods we were advised by the forest commission to leave the silver birch (which was self generated) to act as a sacrificial crop as the Roe and Muntjac would be more interested in this than the Beach, Cherry and Oak.

Really bad advice, nearly all the hard woods were ring barked as a result of not being able to shoot the offending deer due to the amount of silver birch! No other part of the wood has sustained this amount of intense damage.

If you want to protect trees or shrubs either fence them or use tree guards or remove the deer that are causing the damage.
Is that the same FC who were warned about the dangers of permitting continental Ash known to derive from areas where the fatal disease Chalarra occurs to be imported to these shores? Or the same FC who up here took the 'inspired' decision to remove tree tubes from all hardwoods in many otherwise 'commercial' plantation woodlands at the pre rut time where increased fraying occurs? The same FC who think birch needs deer fencing to get them established?

What on earth made you think they would know anything about the job?

To remove the second guy (looks like the older, former 'boss' will reduce the browsing pressure by 50%, to remove the first shown will certainly result in increased damage by the next wannabe boss.

Philip and NickJ both have the solutions, in particular Philip's suggestion of offering diverse diversionary browse; lupins, roses, and a good number of other tasty species (ask a suffering gardener what gets eaten, NOT a govt beauraucracy), and refresh your 'preferred species' list in "Trees and Deer" by Richard Prior.

Like NickJ I've used willow whips for many years to good effect (tip - cut rod lengths and plant/set them in the ground upside down, the "rising" sap will help develop new roots quicker, and the leaves will soon learn up from down as they emerge, but you may have to tube/protect some to allow them to establish well enough before the deer get busy on them. A recently felled mature tree of suitable preference should be robbed of any upper branch or limb manageable and can be left where you can overlook it, curiosity often killed more than the cat! These tips will contain trace elements not so readily available to shorter rooted plants. After they have nibbled, the chances are that he will include it in his t. marking rounds.

In all, a case of careful and thoughtful selection for removal ( i.e. the polar opposite of FC policy) coupled with diversionary provision of alternative interest, again the polar opposite of your erstwhile 'fount of knowledge'.

Take a hard line on the does, though, no mercy.
 
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