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  • Writer's picturecathy king

Epic Battle: Deer vs The Aborvitaes

Updated: Feb 7, 2021

So, in a year where there is so little that is within our control, I have chosen to take back control of my landscaping. Specifically, I have taken back my Arborvitaes from the family of deer that have been feasting on the bottom four feet of said hedges. I, like many homeowners

in the Northeast, have woken up each day to the deer having eaten a little bit more of my shrubbery. Initially, at least over the past two years, the deer only grazed in the backyard, which consists of only five or six bushes. I put chili powder on the shrubs and they stopped, just short of decimation. Sadly, chili powder was not effective this past winter, so I had to resort to stronger measures.

For 2020 I chose to wrap my hedges with burlap, in hopes that the deer would find something else to attack to eat instead of my hedges. Initially, I thought that maybe getting a case of burlap (9 rolls) from Home Depot would cover my problem, which was 23 shrubs. Well, clearly I underestimated how much it took to cover just the bottom four feet of all these shrubs. ONE role only covered one shrub, as I had to go all the way around them, since the deer were quite efficient about eating the perimeter. Problem number two - I went online to order more and they were sold out! So, I pivoted and went to Uline, ordering a roll of 150 yards (5 feet wide) to finish the job. Guess what? It is done!

So now I wait until the winter passes to see if all this work was worth it, and whether or not the wraps survived the winter. So, one might ask, “What is the big deal?” These shrubs have been in my yard for many years, and I like my landscape with them as shrubs, not as topiaries.

They protect some of my gardens, and look beautiful with Christmas lights on them. I know there were options available to me to make them less attractive to deer, such as spraying with chemicals (natural or not,) but I do not want to do that. I do not want more chemicals added to the ground water. I also do not want to add more fencing to protect them, as that is too expensive and not a feasible option. One suggestion was to just remove them. NO! Did you know that trees and shrubs help us combat climate change? They absorb Co2, removing and storing the carbon while releasing the oxygen back into the atmosphere for us to breathe. Additionally, trees absorb odors and pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone. In addition, they filter particulates out of the air by trapping them into their bark and leaves. Finally, they prevent soil erosion and water runoff which is better for yards and property. So, I hope that all of my efforts will net a win for the Arborvitaes in the tale of The Deer vs The Arborvitaes. Stay tuned for an update when we approach spring, and hope that it is not a story where a new battle wages.


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