I have a newly planted Silver Linden tree and I would like to protect its trunk from potential deer antler rubbing. I would like to avoid using deer netting around it. Can anyone recommend a good product for this?
I would would recommend the AM Leonard Bark Protector. It is a rigid black plastic material, extremely strong. They come in lengths of 2 to 5 feet, but would go with the 4 foot length.
They come in 5 packs, but perhaps you can find them from another website/supplier for singles. It can also be tempting to try a home-made protector, or use a lower-cost product. But I haven't found a better one than this yet. I once tried plastic netting that was semi-rigid, and the deer shredded it to pieces, along with the bark.
You wrap it around the tree, and then use 4 releasable zip ties to hold it in place. Just overlap the ends by at least 1 inch so the antlers can't get in. Also make sure to leave room between the protector and the tree to account for growing space (be able to stick your fingers in between the protector and the tree). In the fall, check the protector to make sure the tree isn't growing into it.
If the tree is growing into the protector, you can loosen the zip ties. Also a good idea to replace the zip ties every 1-2 years because they will succumb to the elements. When a deer rubs the protector, you want the zip ties to hold up.
Once the tree gets too big for the protector (into the 3"4" range) you can attach two protectors together, or you can cut the one you have in half and attach the two together. Then you'll be set until the tree reaches the 6"-8" range.
Here is a picture of a bark protector on a 1 inch diameter pin oak. If you want to see bark protectors first-hand, you can check them out at local planting projects at Leonard Park in Mt. Kisco, Junior Lake in Yorktown or Hilltop Hanover Farm in Yorktown. Good luck!
Here is what happened when I used a semi-rigid bark protector (it was actually a roll of 4 foot fencing material). Perhaps it would have fared better if I used 8 zip ties to hold it together, but even then, I'd advise against it. The AM Leonard is still the best product I've used.
Thank you, this is very helpful.
I see that the product you recommend is attached to that wood board parallel to the tree. Is it recommend that they are installed like this or can you just wrap it loosely around the trunk of the tree? I wasn't sure if that board is there to support the young tree or to anchor the bark protector.
Good question. That wooden stake was originally there only to support the tree. That bark protector product doesn't need anything other than zip ties to keep it on the tree. If the tree can support itself, then you don't need the wooden stake.