The deer do a lot of damage, but it could be worse ... they could be moose.A friend told me she had heard a talk by some woman who told her that deer won't touch daphnes. The deer here think they are caviar and decimate them.There isn't one they haven't browsed, even tiny ones. I think they are permanently dwarfing some of the survivors.
If you pick the right woodies- tasty to deer yet fast enough growing to survive- you could get some great 'deersai'!
The moose aren't too bad here- they just pass through a few times over the winter- there is some overpruning of apples and the (shrub type ) cherries which can reduce yield-- and they kept our Mountain Ash as a multistemmed shrub for a long time, as well as shaping all the native dogwoods and saskatoons etc- but they don't kill anything. there is definitely a tendency to keep those things low which can't grow really fast (Cornus), and those that can put up really long shoots in one year may eventually end up with one or more trunks that get out of reach and can then grow unmolested- so you may end up with a very skinny shrub/tree (as with Amelanchier) or a tree with a wide skirt of lower stems (Sorbus), or tightly pruned lower parts and shoots in the middle racing for the sky- this is what our apples are trying to do, but I don't want them tall. Luckily they have not so far done to any planted woodies what they do to native poplars in the bush-break young trees at about 6 or 8 feet above ground so that the tops bend over and they can eat the tender tips....Luckily neither the moose nor deer have paid that much attention to any garden plants so far, apart from woodies...
west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/
The European elk is a nuisance for the forest industry as they browse the buds on young pine trees, especially in winter. My father in law however had more trouble with roe deer in his garden. They could damage an orchard in one night.
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!
Some of my relatives have a tree farm on part of the family farm- they have deer fence around some areas where small trees are grown- I think there is no option here if you have a lot of valuable trees or fruit/berry trees.
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Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
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