The Gardener’s Corner

The Gardener’s Corner

What to do about deer “ring barking” your trees

Eric introduces his Mailbag; write to him with questions related to gardening

In less than a month, it will be December, and with that, most of the world will be in the mood of giving.

So, what will be that perfect gift? And with that thought, who should receive this perfect gift?

We have all hoped the world would be back to some normality. To me, there is only one thing being normal, the setting on my washing machine.

This year has been bombarded with many unexpected tragedies. I am thinking about families who have lost a dear friend, a spouse, or even a child due to COVID-19 or motor vehicle accident. I like to suggest we consider giving that perfect gift to someone who has lost a loved one.

I have being so busy hauling firewood the last few weeks, I nearly forgot to install the Christmas lights. My goal had been to start early before it turned cold and slippery. Some of the lights are mounted on top of the roof, and I, being past 80, prefer no sudden loss in altitude.


Someone wrote that some deer had done a job on their two apple trees. All the bark is rubbed/chewed off most of the trunk. There is a shoot on the top of each tree left, and about a foot near the bottom is untouched.

They left that for the mice, I guess! They also pushed them both so that they are at an angle, so the roots may be too dislodged to survive. Is there anything I can do? I am wondering if these can be salvaged by grafting the top to the bottom.

Response: Unfortunately, what happened to your trees is not uncommon. The best thing to do is plan ahead to what you can do to prevent a similar incident from happening.

I am thinking about a method to prevent the deer from doing that damage. Installing an electric fence might work.

So, what are your options? For grafting you can prune off six short new branches about six inches long. Place them in a sealed plastic bag and store them in a refrigerator until next spring. That is the time the grafting should take place.

You will also need to wait until spring to see what parts of the trees are still alive and then prune accordingly.

Further to what you said about what the deer did to the trunk of the trees: That is the worst kind and is called “ring barking” because the bark has been chewed off in a complete circle. It is the same issue as when a weed eater comes too close to a tree trunk. Anything above that point usually dies.

It is Remembrance Day again. A friend of mine who served in the Canadian Navy during the Second World War, reminded me the other day. It would be very appropriate also to recognize the wives and families serving on the home front.

If you have questions or suggestions for gardening topics, please email me at: