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Deer Damage to Seedlings

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From: Richard Lehmann
Birnamwood, WI
About 18 months ago we planted a bunch of black walnuts in a seed bed. Last summer they grew to 15" - 18" high and were very healthy. This spring we planned to transplant them around our property but the deer nipped the top buds off a lot of them during the winter. Are we wasting our time or are they likely to still grow provided we protect them from the deer doing any more damage?

Extension Message
From: Jay Hayek
Extension Specialist, Forestry
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
Hi Richard:

They should be fine as most naturally occurring hardwood trees have been browsed at one point during their life cycle from seedling, to sapling, to mature tree.

The use of tree shelters/tubes is obviously one approach for smaller numbers of transplants. For large-scale reforestation projects, I simply recommend overplanting (i.e., higher density of seedlings per acre) in order to overcome the high likelihood of deer browsing damage.

Best of luck!

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