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  • Deer and voles

    Now that the leaves and figs are gone, deer are not a problem. But much of the year, they are. There are no natural predators in my area and the deer are multiplying like rabbits.

    In my orchard, almost every tree is surrounded by fencing, about 5 feet high. I make a circle of fencing and have one or two fence posts to hold it in place. Figs are not as bothered by deer as other trees, but exposed fig trees also need fences.

    The deer don't seem to eat figs or fig leaves in my yard when other food is very plentiful. I normally keep my fig trees under about 8 feet tall for ease of management. Deer here browse to about 5 feet, so I may need to let the trees grow taller. I try not to have plants that deer like to eat, but they hang out in my yard anyway. A family of 4 deer are often there just laying around. Our land abuts some natural land. We are in a neighborhood, so people probably can't hunt the deer.

    I have a Bruswick fig tree that is about 6 feet tall and very bushy. This fall there was a deer browsing it. I stood about 15 feet away and shouted at it. It looked at me and kept eating figs and leaves. I approached closer and threw rocks at it, and finally it left.

    My trees are spread around 2 acres. I can't afford 8 foot tall deer fencing. They ignore dog hair, soap, urine, deer repellent, and the fact that my dogs use the area as their restroom.

    For me, the only thing that seems to work is the fencing around each tree, and get the trees tall enough that they don't browse them.

    Voles really love tender bark of young fig trees. If I don't have them protected, there is about 90% chance they will take off all of the bark and kill the tree. If I prune and leave prunings on the ground, they strip the bark from the prunings. I make sleeves of hardware cloth for the trunk, about 1 foot high. I leave about an inch of growing space, so 1/2 inch between the hardware cloth and the tree. I fasten in place with zip ties. Then push the sleeve into the ground an inch, if I can. That keeps the voles away about 90% of the time, although last year they did get a cherry tree roots from below. I keep a roll of hardware cloth around so if I plant something new, it immediately gets a sleeve. These need to be replaced every year or two, to allow for trunk growth. Doesn't seem to matter if they are 1/4" or 1/2" mesh. I have also used chicken wire but the hardware cloth is less scratchy on my skin.

    The vole sleeves go all the way into the ground, not just sitting on the mulch.

    Whenever I plant a new tree, it gets the hardware cloth sleeve and deer fencing as soon as I plant it. If I forget or procrastinate, I regret it.

  • #2
    I'm surprised deer touch your figs! They sample everything else in my yard except figs. My best suggestion is individual fencing like you've been doing.
    https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
    SE PA
    Zone 6

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Daniel-PacificNW View Post
      For me, the only thing that seems to work is the fencing around each tree, and get the trees tall enough that they don't browse them.

      Whenever I plant a new tree, it gets the hardware cloth sleeve and deer fencing as soon as I plant it. If I forget or procrastinate, I regret it.
      Been there and done that. What you say is the only thing that works for me. It's the only thing that gives a good nights sleep.
      Jerry, Canyon Lake TX 8b

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      • #4
        I can't speak if this works but I am thinking of purchasing this coyote decoy. There are coyotes here and deer will avoid this for sure. http://www.amleo.com/3d-coyote-life-...-decoy/p/COY3/
        Iowa Z5

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        • #5
          Salt lick in you neighbors yard and crossbow. 💘 Human hair and human pee work also (especially after eat asparagus ) and moth balls for anything else
          Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
          1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
          2) This weeks ebay auctions.

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          • #6
            I have deer in my neighborhood as well. For me they usually don't mess with much of anything, just get in the way more than anything. My Great Dane really does not seam to bother them, they just seemed to tolerate her more than anything. The Dogo puppies are proving to be better deterrent, they chased off the deer in the first encounter and as far as know, the deer have not been back yet. Disclaimer: Dogo's are not for the average dog keeper, they need a strong Alfa to keep them in check. That Alfa needs to be familiar with large, powerful, stubborn breeds like Mastiff's and Bullydogs.

            I don't have voles so I have nothing to add on them other get something that will eat them... bull snakes?

            Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

            “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Taverna78 View Post
              Salt lick in you neighbors yard and crossbow. 💘 Human hair and human pee work also (especially after eat asparagus ) and moth balls for anything else
              We peecycle. That means over a year there are gallons of pee used in the yard. Deer don't mind at all. Of course, we wash it into the ground, so that might be why. They don't mind the dog pee either. In fact, our deer are only moderately annoyed by my dogs. One is 50 poiunds and one is 60 pounds. If the dogs chase them, they will run away. Unfortunately I think my dogs want to make friends with them.

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              • Taverna78
                Taverna78 commented
                Editing a comment
                Eat asparagus then pee ! That keep anything away! Or train dog mate with deer! You can then have mix breed name " ole deer" vs ole yeller!

              • smatthew
                smatthew commented
                Editing a comment
                you're right about the pee. Human urine smells suspiciously close to deer urine - at least as far as deer are concerned. So human urine definitely does not do anything to keep deer away.

            • #8
              I spread hot pepper dust around my plants. Several folks I know spray their plants and the surrounding areas with a pepper spray and it seems to work for them. Here is a link to where my friend got his recipe for the pepper spray. Yes it is a little red-necky but it's good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fN2LTMRYgg
              Edward - Edgewater, Florida (Zone 9b)
              Wish List: Holy Smokes, U. Prosciutto, Ham Rham, Labritja

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              • #9
                Taverna - :-) you are right, if we mate dogs with deer, then they will stay away from the figs and just beg me for dog biscuits. Good plan!
                SMathew - it probably doesn't help that I am vegetarian. The deer are at the same point on the food chain as I am. Maybe they know that.
                efletche - I thought about using some habaneros. That might make for some spicy figs, too.

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                • efletche
                  efletche commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I use some of my Datil and Chocolate Habaneros to make jelly as well as a thinner version to pour over my wings. YUM!

              • #10
                This is said to be a good deterrent.

                https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=wolf+urine
                Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

                “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

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                • #11
                  Daniel, I have been through this also. The pepper spray works but eventually you will fail to re spray frequently enough and as you say, you will regret it. Really the only thing that is reliable is the fencing. And even that can fail under certain circumstances. If too large an area is fenced the deer will jump over it. I have to string across it (string) so they wont jump in and out. I have been so mad I have sworn I would shoot the deer even though it is illegal where I am. I have never done it but I have been that mad. And this in spite of the fact I find them quite beautiful. They are beautiful pests. They have cost me much extra work and losses of some very good fruits.

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                  • #12
                    I'm getting a hunting license and crossbow permit next year. The deer around me move for cars, but don't pay much attention to humans... silly deer!
                    Fig & Blackberry Farmer in Sunol, CA.

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                    • #13
                      I feel your pain, the deer where I am at are not to bad, but don't get me started on squirrels! I'm stuck like the rest of you, wifey won't allow me to shoot no matter how many times I bring up the current price of meat, (dang it). So expensive fencing and dogs is the best I can do. I did think about motion sensor water sprayers, but wifey wasn't thrilled about that either.

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