Deer are very destructive to plants and young trees.
Most damage is caused by feeding on buds, shoots and foliage or from bark-stripping from main stems or branches by gnawing or rubbing. Often the bark is removed from the entire circumference of the trunk (known as girdling or ring barking) killing the tree above the girdle.
Fencing is often the only realistic solution. If deer fencing is correctly installed and maintained it can prove to be an effective barrier against fallow, roe and muntjac deer.
Until recently the cost of deer fencing was very high, but recent work undertaken by MAFF has resulted in low cost alternatives that do not compromise on performance.
What are the Specifications for Deer Fencing?
The Forestry Commission publishes advice on the materials and specifications for deer fencing. These specifications vary according to the species of deer you are trying to deny entry to – even relatively small muntjac deer have been observed jumping over a 1.2m fence. Fencing for muntjac should be at least 1.5m high and at least 1.8m for other deer. It also needs to be robust enough to prevent deer squeezing through gaps underneath. Materials such as high tensile wire mesh or lighter weight hexagonal wire mesh and high tensile plastic mesh are recommended. The supporting structures and posts likewise vary according to the fencing material chosen.