Foraging for food in the winter is challenging for all animals. Our large population of white tailed deer in Northern New Hampshire often find it necessary to seek out edible plants and bushes which they might not ordinarily eat simply due to an early season snowfall that covers up their preferred food sources of acorns and berries. These “other” edible plant sources often happen to be in our gardens and front yards.
As you drive around our area you will notice many homes with tall, stately Arborvitae shrubs that look like they have been “pruned” from their base up to about 5 feet or so just about as high as a dear can reach.
Our golf course in town has a lovely row of 8 Arborvitae planted as a fairway wind block. These are now each chewed cleanly back to the stalk and up about 5 feet from the base. From a distance they look like “popsicles” on a stick. Others think they look like someone tried to create Arborvitae topiaries. They do look very interesting.
In any case, the deer will always win, and we as gardeners are forced to work around this annual situation. I suggest wrapping burlap around the bottom half of the Arborvitae bush or tree. This will solve the deer munching problem. Just be sure to wrap the burlap high enough to account for additional snow fall accumulation which would raise the deer up too.
It has been my observation that the Arborvitae that have been eaten by the deer, often times will grow back if protected for several growing cycles. Otherwise there is always the option of you actually keeping the bushes ”pruned” yourself, enjoy the topiary look, and tell all your friends that you had a professional designer craft and maintain your trees for you.
Should they want a name or referral……tell them it’s a local landscaper Bambi …something, I forget her last name, and she’s in the book……?