Jail for Trees - Preventing Deer Browse

When planting native, many are discouraged to find the deer are often a little too grateful for our efforts. Here is how I protect new plants from deer browse.


4-5 foot metal fence stake

Rabbit fencing or chicken wire, cut into 2-4 foot lengths


  1. Cut fencing into varying lengths to accommodate the different sizes of new plants.

  2. "Knit" them together by twisting the cut edges together. No need to cinch every level - just 2-3 "stitches" will suffice: one on each end and one in middle. This allows for easier removal as the plant bushes out later.

  3. Pound the stake in until the entire anchor plate is buried.

  4. Afix a cage that is slightly larger around than the new plant you're caging.

  5. If the plant is taller than the cage, situate the cage higher on the stake, leaving a gap at the bottom of the cage. This covers the area that deer are most likely to browse as they pass by.

  6. Check your cages periodically. As the ground freezes and thaws, the stakes will loosen over time. I like to take a walk around my place after a rain to survey my plantings. When the ground is soft, stakes can be easily pushed back in by applying pressure to the anchor plate with a well-placed boot heel.

I'll have to admit I haven't removed many of the cages around my plants, but having been here for 5 years now, I'm assuming it's getting to be that time. I would appreciate others' input on when they determine the timing is right to set their caged plants free. Please comment here so others can learn too!

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1655 N County Road 605, Sunbury, OH 43074

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