Caging the Apple Trees for Deer Protection

Saturday we went out to the land to try get some work down. We have so many plans for it, but honestly time, money, and circumstances have made things move slower than we had hoped. I won’t go into the specifics, but the big hold up is that we are currently waiting to clear off a section of the land so that we can prepare it to plant fruit trees. We hope to have a full orchard and some grape vines by the time we move out there. Thus, they are one of our first priorities because of the time it takes them to mature.

While we are unable to plant our orchard at this time, we did plant 5 apple trees this past spring along the driveway entrance. To our dismay they were quite the tasty treat for the deer and the trees were very damaged. We were heart broken, but they were still alive.

We found online where some people suggested laying chicken wire or something similar on the ground around the base of the trees. They said the deer did not like the way the wire felt when walking on it and it would keep them away. We had our doubts, but tried this approach first because it was quicker and easier than caging the trees. As we all know, the easiest way is usually not the best way and people online do not always know what they are talking about.  We also found that the deer were still frequenting the area on our wildlife camera and although the further destruction was not as horrifying as the initial destruction there was still clear signs of additional gnawing on our precious trees.

So, we finally did what we should have to begin with. We caged our 5 apple trees.

Honey Crisp Apple Tree Caged to Protect from Deer
Honey Crisp Apple Tree Caged to Protect from Deer
We had no more lumber of any descent length to use. So rather than spending money on new lumber we decided to use some young poplar trees from the land. These poplar trees grow relatively straight and have smooth bark. We were able to get 2 corner posts from most of the young poplar trees and 1 from others that were just too small at the top. Poplar really isn’t the greatest wood to use for longterm building because it rots and deteriorates rather quickly. The wood can even get almost spongy over time. So, we are not bothered by the fact we were cutting down young poplars before they had time to mature as the mature wood is not as useful as something like oak. For our purposes, it would probably suffice and was free.
Straight and Smooth Young Poplar Trees
 Straight and Smooth Young Poplar Trees

Then we used the pieces of chicken wire that we had previously attached to the ground to wrap the 4 corner poles to build a cage. We simply stapled the chicken wire to the poplar trees. Our cages are comprised of various size hex chicken wire and square wire. We really were not horribly concerned with aesthetics but simply that they worked. Some of our cages began to taper a little bit at the top because the poplar trees were a little thin. But still they seemed overall quite secure and should hopefully do the trick.

Once all of our cages were built, we added a fresh layer of leaves around the base of each tree for mulch. The dirt here is hard red clay. Anything we can do to help contain moisture and provide some cover will be beneficial.

Leaves for mulch around trees
Leaves as Mulch Around Trees