Deer damage in Westchester is not unheard of due to the high population in the area. Westchester Tree Life’s tree care professionals are here to assist you in assessing the damage to your trees and providing a custom plant health care plan moving forward. If you need immediate tree care, call Westchester Tree Life today: (914) 238-0069
From early September throughout November, deer rub their antlers on trees to shed their summer velvet, mark their scent to attract doe (female deer) and claim their perimeter; this season is referred to as rutting season. During the rutting season (also known as the mating season for deer), you may notice bark stripped from the perimeter of your tree. Westchester County is known for having a high deer population and deer often revisit the same place each year to claim their territory; each rutting process lasts approximately 24 hours.
Trees in Danger of Deer Damage
Maple, Magnolia, Birch, and Bald Cypress trees are especially susceptible to deer damage, and can quickly be reduced to stubs. Deer damage is especially stressful to young trees with smooth bark. Deer damage to your trees can impact your landscape as well as decrease your property value.
Identifying Factors of Deer Damage to Trees
When identifying deer damage to trees, look for a shredding of bark ranging from one foot above the ground to three or four feet high; underlying wood will be exposed. When a deer has damaged the entire circumference of a tree, the tree is said to be “girdled”. Trees which are girdled often die due to the inability to transport water and nutrients. Trees which have experienced vertical damage often survive, though the growth on that side may be stunted. Due to the high rate of deer in Westchester, it is advised to check your trees often.
Deer also damage trees by browsing on tree seedlings, tree shrubs and climbers from late fall to early spring. This reduces stem densities, limits height growth and reduces foliage density, which makes for a more open understorey.