Case Study: Preventing deer damage on newly planted fruit trees

Name

Randy Hill, Hill Orchard

Location

Sister Bay, Wisconsin

Situation

Expanding orchard experiencing high mortality rate on newly planted fruit trees due to high deer browse pressure. Fine‐tuned Plantskydd Deer Repellent applications over 3 years of use.

Results

“What I learned is that when the leaves are opening, there’s no point in trying to get long ‐term protection from a single spray application. I was also spraying using an air blast sprayer for speed and convenience. However, the Plantskydd rep told me I was using too much water as I might if I was spraying a fungicide. He advised me to make a more concentrated solution but spray each tree from a wand I rigged to my tank. So I mixed 1 x 2.2 lb package in 7.5 gallons of water and sprayed right at leaf out and again when the leaves started opening. I started spraying May 29 and sprayed again one week later on June 4. The third application was made 21 days later on June 25. I witnessed some feeding resume just before the third application so 3 weeks was a bit too late. So you need to spray more often when the leaves are soft and flushing out but I think that once the leaves are open and start hardening, the product lasts a lot longer. See images I provided.”

“As of the beginning of September I have been seeing a lot of deer in the orchard and I have to say I’m impressed. I’m seeing the deer eat mature trees along fence rows but they’re leaving the young treated trees alone. I mean, in hindsight, I should’ve sprayed a fourth time because I did see some damage lately. Nothing serious though, it’s ‘acceptable’ damage if there’s such a thing. I mean, compared to past damage, at least I know the tree will make it. The one thing I can say, now that I’m figuring out how to use the stuff, is that it’s very economical to spray each tree individually. I used 1/3 the product we thought we’d need on these new trees.”

1st application May 29, 2014.
2nd application June 4, 2014.
3rd application June 16, 2014.