GARDEN

How To Keep Deer Away From Eating Your Apple Trees

Do deer eat apple trees? Well, sort of. They will eat the young tender shoots. Especially on young apple trees. So how do you keep deer away from apple trees? Read on…

A number of years ago I planted two young apple trees (McIntosh and Honeycrisp). Living in ‘deer country’ I took a few precautions to deter them from eating the green shoots and damaging or destroying my efforts.

By the way, planting fruit bearing trees is an excellent proactive action for preparedness sake!

Here’s what I did, and lets hear your own recommendations too about keeping deer from eating your trees:

How to keep deer away from apple trees


1. Assemble a fence around the young tree as a deer deterrent perimeter.

2. Hang a deer deterrent scent around the fence.

It worked pretty well.

Keep Deer Away With A Fence Around The Tree

The fence is an ordinary welded-wire fence (Home Depot) which is supported by two T-posts. You might use 3 posts depending on the overall perimeter / diameter of fence.

My fence at the time measured about 15 feet in length. The circumference provided several feet of clearance around the apple tree. The diameter of the fence circle is just about 5 feet. The welded wire fence itself is 5 feet tall.

deer-fence-for-apple-tree

Keep Deer Away By Using Deterrent Scent

Apparently, deer do not like the scent of Irish Spring soap!

So I cut up several bars into pieces which I slipped into several pairs of women’s ‘knee socks’ (I had Mrs.J purchase those ;) ).

I then hung the Irish Spring soap-filled socks around the fence. Actually I only dropped 3 or 4 chunks (slices) of soap into each sock.

>> Irish Spring Deodorant Soap Original Scent
(view on amzn)

irish-spring-soap-deer-deterrent
(my ‘Irish Spring’ work station)

Additional Ways to Keep Deer Away from Eating Young Trees

A few added ways to keep deer from nibbling on your trees (updated from the comments below)…

  • The forestry uses white paper folded in half and stapled around the tips of the top branches of their seedling trees so deer stay away. It works.
  • Ask your barber for hair clippings. Stuff in old nylon stockings and hang from the tree branches. This works well.
  • Urinal Cakes. You won’t need the Fencing just tie one or two in the tree with the same method Ken uses.
  • 125 lb Rottweiler and nothing comes around.
  • Motion activated sprinklers work great.
  • I put t-posts around my mini orchard and then strung clear 30lb test fishing line around the orchard (4 levels). The deer can’t see the line (especially at night). Result…deer walk into it and freak out because it is basically invisible to them.
  • I put an old radio in a garbage can on its side on an all night talk radio station. This is the second year and so far it works.

>> Urinal Cakes

>> Motion Activated Sprinklers for Animal Deterrence
(view on amzn)

 What about you? Any deer deterrent tips for apple trees or other such similar situation?

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43 Comments

  1. The forestry uses white paper folded in half and stapled around the tips of the top branches of their seedling trees so deer stay away. It works.

  2. Ask your barber for hair clippings. Stuff in old nylon stockings and hang from the tree branches. This works well. Also scatter dried blood at the base of the trees also around the border of your garden. This will keep deer and rabbits away. Dried blood is sold in most garden centers. Another item you need to consider is a special tape also sold at garden centers to place around the base of the young trees. This prevents mice from chewing the young bark and girdling the trees. I have lost trees because of this.

  3. I’m having trouble with hogs grubbing around the roots of my fruit trees. Avocado trees too. They are damaging the roots. One side of my best tangerine tree is dying. They are rubbing off the bark at the bases. They keep breaching my fences. Other than shooting them every chance I get any suggestions on something I could put on the ground to deter them from rooting?

    1. Those damn Hogs are everywhere now.
      Until another solution is found (the State Wildlife people are working(?) on it, the only present solution is GUNFIRE!

      1. hogs? Hogs?? Guess that squirrels and moles aren’t so bad after all. At least my dog can hunt those. : /

      2. Drive four posts into ground, then nail 10in boards to bottom, and then put fencing like in Ken’s picture. It will keep the hogs out. I have to do this because we often let our hogs free range when the mommas want to roam to our creek with the little ones.

    2. Remove about 4 in. soil for 3 ft. around base of tree. Buy roll of barbed wire, place wire flat to the ground, making a spiral of concentric circles with wire about 4-6 inches apart, staking it down with whatever you have (I use cheap tent stakes). Replace the soil.

      Hogs are highly intelligent creatures. After one encounter with a cut up snout, they will not return to that tree.

  4. Ok, here I go again with the Urinal Cakes (huge mothballs) again. You won’t need the Fencing just tie one or two in the tree with the same method Ken uses. Works on any animal that comes around, even Bear. At $8-$9 a dozen, they are well worth the cost. Also the rain will not “melt” them, so they will/can last an entire season.

    NRP

    PS; the also work good in a Garden.

  5. 125 lb Rottweiler and nothing comes around. I am surrounded by woods and have a pond and creek on my property. Have seen one squirrel and one opossum since getting the dog 6 years ago. The coyote come near the property at night when dog is inside, but I’ve never even seen them on the property.

  6. Great camera shot of the deer!!

    I use a combination of urinal cakes and soap chunks year round to keep deer on 350 acres of hardwood timber. Along with corn feeders and mineral blocks. The surrounding land is planted in soybeans of cotton. Having strips of back strap, shrimp, wrapped with a slice of bacon for the 4th.

    I use a series of cameras to keep the poachers out while I’m not there.

  7. I will try the urinal cakes. Neighbor down the road is making a slurry out of his dog waste. Pours it down his fence line especially where their trails are. Says he is having pretty good luck with it. Might try that too…

  8. About these Urinal Cakes. I just have to comment. We have a huge lovely garden in northern Minnesota that is continually plagued by deer. We’ve tried everything to discourage them, but to no avail. Until I read about Urinal Cakes. I ordered a dozen on Amazon about $12/ doz. and placed them at the four corners of our smaller garden and around the fruit trees. That evening we were in our garage, and we saw a big deer walk straight up to one of the Cakes, stomp around it, charge at it, back up stomp around some more. Then with the flick of his nose, flip it in the air about 20 feet away, then march off into the woods. It works, people! Thanks NRP

  9. Motion activated sprinklers work great. They are battery operated and of coarse need water so might not be ideal for SHTF, but until then it’ll keep every critter out of your garden. Just remember to shut it off before you go in or it’ll get you too.

  10. California Agricultural extension used to spray an emulsion of eggs on the tips of branches to young seedlings to prevent deer from nibbling the branch tips.

    I was never in a place where I had hogs rooting on my property. I like hogs! they taste better than deer and if they are less than 200 lbs, the meat is tender and usable in most pork recipes. In California I used to go after them about 1x/ year for the meat and fun. Meat goes bad quickly so skin out your meat and put it on ice soon as possible after you shoot it. Typical hog hunting truck was an open bed vehicle with a marine-sized Ice chest in the bag full of frozen water bottles (gallon sized).

    Hog hunting is about the only thing I miss about California. Some parts of the state are just lousy with them.

  11. I had a mule deer problem (in Wyoming) attacking my fruit trees. I put t-posts around my mini orchard and then strung clear 30lb test fishing line around the orchard (4 levels). The deer can’t see the line (especially at night). Result…deer walk into it and freak out because it is basically invisible to them. They take off like a bat out of hell. I have not had one deer issue since. Pretty inexpensive and no smelly stuff hanging around the property.

    1. @ UnderwaterComms

      I agree with Ken (and that don’t happen to often, LOL) that might be worth giving it a try….
      Thanks for the idea

      NRP

  12. I had trouble last year when I planted my trees. I put an old radio in a garbage can on its side on an all night talk radio station. This is the second year and so far it works.

  13. Years ago our deer was destroying our taxus shrubs. We tried all the items mentioned except the monofiliment line. The only thing that worked was to string an electric fence. We must of had some really hungry deer.

    1. The deer were so hungry here a few years back, they stepped onto the neighbor’s porch to reach the shrubs coming from the top as they had protected all the sides.

  14. Hair clippings work.

    A.solution of hot sauce, soap and water. Added garlic.

    I did this on my trespassing cousin’s bait pile.

    I also ‘stole’ his deer decoy, that was placed upon our property.

    (I received a phone call. We had a nice chat)

  15. 12 ga with rubber buckshot or #8 birdshot to the butt end seems to work fairly well, if all else fails. Put you 35-45 yards out and they won’t be injured.

  16. I said it 4 years ago and still stand behind it…..
    Urine Cakes.
    PS: PLEASE don’t steal the one’s out of Wally World restrooms. Buy tham from most Janitorial Supply Stores.
    They work.

    1. NRP & Blue,—I’m having trouble comprehending someone actually wanting to steal a urinal cake out of the restroom. Assuming it’s in the urinal… ‘Course, I’m comfy around animal manure, so there’s that. Could wear gloves, and use a ziploc, I s’pose. But then, I’d also have to go into the men’s room. Might surprise some people. Nevermind.

      1. Farmgirl:
        Ohhhh you might be surprised what humans will steal….
        Such as, why would anyone steal a busted up Pallet out of the back of my truck?
        Insaine.

        1. NRP,
          That must have been the PLA (pallet liberation army), because, ya know, pallets are made of once living wood, and they have rights too.😜

          1. NRP,
            You have to remember that pallets are “the poor man’s plywood”, so…if 7/16 OSB is $38/ sheet, that pallet has a lot more value than it used to.

        2. I never stole one but asked for them at the lumberyard. I made rustic furniture and have a coffee table made out of one I use now. Insane be me.

          1. Stardust, I have a stack of them I’m planning to use for my chicken coop.

        3. Speaking of stealing out of the back of trucks…make sure you secure your trailer hitches people…they are being stolen and will be difficult to replace.

    2. NRP can you give me an idea how long a urinal cake remains effective please? I am thinking of how many I need for the next 2 years.

      Thanks

      1. NH Michael:
        When I put the Cakes out, I only open a 1/2-3/4 hole in the plaatic wrapper. That will allow enough of the stink out to deture most critters.
        As far as how long they last, a good month or two.
        I set them in an old Tuna Fish Can and set one at each of Garden.
        These things are basically huge Mothballs.
        Try to place them where rain water will not collect in the can.

        1. supposedly they are made of para-dichlorobenzene, a chemical that does deodorize but comes with baggage. The solid cake sublimes, meaning it converts to a gas without going through the liquid state. It is a recognized animal carcinogen and causes concern because it can be found in the blood of most people….per science review. It is also in moth balls.

  17. This is similar to using urine…I had my dogs pee around the trees and the edge of my garden. Never had a deer and I am in deer country.

  18. here in new hampshire,we have 20 trees,we have success with $1 solar lights from Walmart ,one at each tree on a 3ft stake,very large dog also helps

  19. Still reading.

    Have (4) ten-year-old trees that have twice now, produced a massive crop of apples, none of which I have enjoyed the fruits of.

    Started out with a five-foot fence—dunk, right over, no apples that year. Went to the Irish Spring soap—all over the place—that year I truly believed it was the attractant that brought them in, no affect. Next year, did the urine thing—saved gallons, my girlfriend was thoroughly grossed out…bare trees. The following year I went with the holographic tape strips that are supposed to keep birds away, which they do, but did nothing for the apple-tree raiders. The following year!…I set out battery operated motion-activated flood-lights…that’s when I heard a group of the females saying they’d have to coming after I’d left for work…at that point I said to myself; I need an orchard.

    True, a dog would work wonderfully but I happen to enjoy watching them five feet away from my window with their little fawns in the spring snacking on…I’m in Michigan where setting out corn is now illegal…my flower beds, not corn….lol.

    So, outside of planting fifty more trees…

    Still reading.

    1. Premier 1 supply has several temporary options to keep wildlife out of your gardens and orchards.

      1. +1
        i use their hardware, am setting up a 500+ foot run of permanet and about 1200 feet of 3D deer fence

    2. Sydney,
      just wanted to say, hello
      to another Michigander.
      

      (That’s not such a cool name for us anymore since Whitmer uses it alot.)

  20. We tried surrounding trees with individual fences, which the deer looked really funny wearing. The soap and hair didn’t work. Then we put them in my old garden, totally fenced in. That worked to keep the deer out but the ground squirrels have no problem getting in. Wonder if urnial cakes work against squirrels?