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Do deer browse your blueberry bushes?

 
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The title of this thread says it all. I just planted 32 blueberry bushes yesterday, and this morning I saw a few deer on the farm. My new blueberries are fine, but it got me thinking. I never really had a problem with deer and blueberries at my old house. Do fellow Permies with blueberry bushes, do you have a fence around them or have you experienced any deer chowing down on your blueberry bushes?
 
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I planted 6 in the spring and for most of the summer the deer completely ignored them.  Late summer/fall when the deer's preferred foods were scarce or droughted out they started to munch.

I'm not sure if I will fence next year as I'm a renter.   And it isn't certain the badly munched bushes will survive - the raspberries didn't.  I did notice that in August every time I watered a nearby stand of brush and it greened up the deer browsed there instead.

Here's to cheering on the natural preditors all winter long.
 
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They might love any tender new growth.  

This year the deer have eating everything ... tomato leaves, bell pepper leaves, squash leaves.  Then they started in on the walking onions and rose bushes.  

When they started eating the rose bushes I put up a string fence.  It has been several weeks and it is still keeping them out.  
 
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I planted a lot of small plants at first, and the deer munched on mine a lot, but I planted very small plants in a high deer traffic area with not much growing around them at first.

I put up some fencing around them after I had a few small plants mulched to the ground, but I removed the fencing this year around the bigger bushes that are between 4 to 6 feet tall now, and the deer have seemed to ignore them so far, should be interesting to see if they will leave them alone this coming spring with the new growth.

I'm trying to experiment currently with alternatives to fencing for small plants (mainly twiggy branches stuck in the ground near them and growing other taller plants nearby), since fencing can get expensive.

Would love to see some pics of your new blueberries James if you have some.
 
James Freyr
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Steve Thorn wrote:

Would love to see some pics of your new blueberries James if you have some.



Will do, tomorrow! I surprised myself after seeing I hadn't taken any pictures for my annual farm log/diary.
 
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I'm in eastern PA and deer browse *everything*, including blueberries.  Mine's been on its last legs for years; the deer eat all the new growth every year and the only thing saving some of the old growth is the grapevine that grew over it.  I used to have a chicken wire cage over it, but wind blew it over and pulled the whole thing down one year and I never replaced it with a new one.  This year I got three teensy tiny tissue cultured plants from Baker Creek; the deer didn't get to them because I made some cages with sticks and grapevine and I let the weeds grow up around them as camouflage.  It's worked for four months so far and I'm hoping they make it through winter, at which point I'll have to come up with some better solutions.  
 
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Like S Tonin, my mother had blueberries in western NJ and the deer ate them constantly. The one time we tried to fence them, bears came and knocked the fence down (I suspect the deer paid them off). I think it depends on your deer pressure-- at her house, the deer decimated everything you could imagine.
 
James Freyr
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Here's a pic of the new bushes I planted. I took another picture of the area with all 32 plants in it but I had to stand so far back that the the plants appear very small and just blend in with the grass and are practically impossible to see. The plants are about 24-30 inches tall.
Young-blueberry-bushes.jpg
[Thumbnail for Young-blueberry-bushes.jpg]
 
James Freyr
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I want to ask another question to blueberry owners on Permies. Those who also have dogs, not just LGD's but dogs in general, do you notice if the presence of having a dog reduces or even eliminates deer activity in the yard/on the farm/by the house?
 
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James Freyr wrote:I want to ask another question to blueberry owners on Permies. Those who also have dogs, not just LGD's but dogs in general, do you notice if the presence of having a dog reduces or even eliminates deer activity in the yard/on the farm/by the house?



HA!  No.  Deer come up to the house and look right in the windows while they eat whatever ornamental they feel like that day.  We usually keep the dogs in a fenced in area (we don't want them tangling with bears or eating cat poop), but if we let them out the barking scares off the deer if they're around.  Peeing on trees and under the bird feeder is no deterrent.  It should be noted that where I live, the wildlife has lost most fear of humans (and dogs, and cars), so it might be different in a more rural area.
 
James Freyr
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I mulched the blueberry bushes with wood chips. Here's another picture of all of the bushes, and while it's difficult to see them individually, the mulch at least gives an idea of the grouping. Each blueberry bush is 8 feet apart, and the rows are 16 feet apart.
mulched-blueberry-bushes.jpg
[Thumbnail for mulched-blueberry-bushes.jpg]
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