But then I looked a little closer.
Curiosity got the better of me so I grabbed some shoes and a coat and headed outside.
Yikes! What the H E double toothpicks is going on here? Could that be @#$%& deer damage? Unfortunately yes, it appears hungry deer have launched an attack on my garden.
Now I know all of you who battle deer on a regular basis are thinking something along the lines of, "Welcome to my world." or "I can feel for you but I can't reach you." and I don't blame you at all. For the most part, I don't have a deer problem. Usually I get a stray one here and there in the summer and they usually concentrate their efforts in the gardens along my driveway eliminating Hosta or nibbling on deciduous shrubs in the reclamation area. Nothing a quick dash outside in your underwear yelling at the top of your lungs at five in the morning can't fix. However, never have I seen a deer or had any damage from them at all in the winter.
|Satan's minions leave a calling card.|
Despite living in a heavily populated suburban location directly behind a commercial shopping plaza and less than a mile from our capitol city limits, I get quite a bit of wildlife at my house. Most people are surprised when in addition to the usual stories of rabbits, possums, and raccoons I recount sightings of fox, deer, coyote and once a snapping turtle.
|Deer browsing damage on some Thuja occidentalis in my reclamation area|
Less than half a mile from my house is Hartford's famous Cedar Hill Cemetery, final resting place of many notable people including Kathryn Hepburn and J.P. Morgan. Cedar Hill encompasses 270 park like acres. In addition to housing the remains of the dearly departed, Cedar Hill is also home to a herd of Satan's hooved minions.
Using my amateur tracking skills, I followed the hoof prints to the end of a row of Thuja plicata 'Green Giant'. 'Green Giant' is reportedly deer resistant and I couldn't find any evidence of browsing but maybe the deer had already set their sights on the T. occidentalis. With any luck I won't have multiple incidences to compare and contrast.
Here's a closer shot of area behind my property to the northwest. You can see the roof of the shopping plaza. Directly above the roof line are headstones located in a smaller cemetery adjacent to Cedar Hill. When I photograph my garden I'm usually very careful to shoot from angles that omit the plaza. During the growing season it's not as obvious but in the winter it looms large. Eventually I plan to do a "truth in gardening" blog post which will expose my surroundings and perhaps generate some new screening ideas.
So I guess I'd better get over to the local garden center and get a bottle of Plantskyd. A few years ago (pre cat) I discovered it when I was looking for something to repel the herds of rabbits decimating my garden every night. Initially I was using the granular form but the active ingredient is dried blood so although it repelled the rabbits, it attracted the dog who would then spend hours hoovering around the garden eating it. Since dog browsing reduced the effectiveness, I switched to the liquid spray bottle.
To be honest, the liquid form is disgusting. If you don't have dogs and are trying to repel small animals only, I recommend the granules. Not only does the liquid emit an indescribable stench, it looks like blood. After spraying it on your plants, you may feel compelled to assure guests to your garden that your nightly routine really doesn't involve beheading chickens and sacrificing sheep. They may or may not believe you.
But it works, at least for the occasional deer infestations I deal with in my garden. Please feel free to share your deer experience with me. Do you have a problem? If so how have you dealt with it? What about my Arborvitae trio? Will they recover or will I be sharpening my shovel and removing them come spring?