Damage assessment at the farm after our initial spring and summer plantings: Three fig trees and three blackberry plants succumbed to drought/heat stress, and one peach tree got chewed up pretty bad when the neighbor’s cattle broke through the fence the first time. It could’ve been worse, and I’d over-planted to begin with, in case Nature decided to take a share of my crops, as she is wont to do.
With the heat and the supplemental watering season behind us, I breathed a sigh of relief and relaxed a little. A little too much.
Relax too much and you forget about rutting season. I remembered about rutting season Saturday, after it was too late and some buck used the trunk of the other peach tree – the one the cows had left alone – as a sharpening stone for his antlers. He cleanly scraped off a 2-foot-high section of bark that went about three-quarters of the way around the young sapling. They say a young fruit tree can recover from damage to 50% of the trunk’s circumference, but I have my doubts about this one.
Male deer like to find tree trunks small enough that they still have some “give” in them. The deer rub and push against these saplings with their antlers, in part to remove the velvet covering the antlers in early fall, and also in order to serve notice to any does in the area that there’s a big buck roaming around with his pants on fire.
The peach tree in question was planted about 20 feet away from our back door and, for some reason, I thought the deer would be too skittish to hang that close to the house. My bad. Now, after the fact, I have the trunk surrounded by tall tomato cages for protection. Now that there’s not much left to protect.