Deer signs, part 1

Like many suburban and rural gardeners, I share the garden with deer. They're not as much of a problem for me as they are for some, even though they come through my yard at least twice a day -- usually when I'm not around to see them.


Although I don't always see them, I see their signs. Sometimes they do damage that is more significant than a few unwanted shrubs stripped of leaves, or some perennials pruned poorly. Take for instance my bamboo. My beautiful, make-me-feel-happy bamboo.


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This is the time of year when deer can ugly it up quite a bit.


See what I mean? Ugly.

The problem is there are a lot of deer walking around with antlers right now, and those antlers apparently need to be rubbed. Unfortunately the bamboo is just about the right size for this, and it takes a beating.


I've been told that this is a visual marking system too, that the deer use the scratches to announce their presence to others.


Yeah, I already knew you were here.

Last year they just marred the culms on the back side of this grove, so the damage wasn't visible from the yard. Here's what year-old damage looks like:


This year though, they chose the culms in front. (See the first photo)


Luckily these are the culms that are arching out a bit too much, and I won't feel bad about removing them completely in the spring.


I'm going to have to live with the scratched up green culms for a while though, as it's a younger plant and I can't remove any culms yet. Sigh.

At least they're not eating the shoots when they emerge in the spring, right?


(I still get excited when I see deer moving through my yard)

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Lisa  – (November 20, 2013 at 6:03 AM)  

We had a giant HOA battle a few years back when one neighbor was putting out feed corn, apples, and salt licks. The rest of the neighbors - who all border the wooded area next to our subdivision - were not so excited to see the occasional deer turn into a herd of 30. They are beautiful to see but can be oh-so-destructive!

Anonymous –   – (November 20, 2013 at 7:49 AM)  

Could be worse... I have raccoons chewing and snapping off the tender new culms of my mexican weeping bamboo.

Anonymous –   – (November 20, 2013 at 7:51 AM)  

Hey Alan,
Sorry about your bamboo. They are not only leaving visual signposts to other deer, but more importantly olfactory scent-posts. They have glands at their eyes and on their foreheads with which they deposit scent. The rut will wind down soon in your area and the rubbing should taper off.
Take care, -jeremy

Alan  – (November 20, 2013 at 2:57 PM)  

Jeremy: I wish they'd just rub their eyes and foreheads on stuff -- it's the antlers that are the problem. :)

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