GardenSMART :: Deer are Already Prepared for Winter
Deer are Already Prepared for Winter
By Bobbex, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Bobbex, Inc.
Like many mammals, deer physically prepare for winter by better insulating their bodies. In the fall, deer gradually trade their summer coats for a warmer winter one, which is more substantial and has thicker, longer, darker hairs called "guard hairs" to protect their fur and skin from rain and snow.
Their winter coat naturally absorbs more sunlight and traps more body heat than their warm-weather coat, so provides an exceptional amount of protection from the cold. Deer also have oil-producing glands in their skin that helps make their hair water resistant, which is especially valuable in the snow. For even further insulation, their bodies naturally begin to retain more fat in winter.
Deer also alter their behavior to survive the harsh winter weather. They generally become less active, sometimes dropping their metabolism by half, which allows them to save energy. Deer can hunker down during particularly harsh winter weather and survive on their fat, but eventually they have to eat something, although their preferred food sources are long gone.
Although amazing, deer do survive harsh winters when vegetation they prefer is nearly impossible to find. Deer's usual winter diet includes food that is not particularly nutritious, but it's above the snow and available to feed on, like twigs, leaves, bark and evergreen shrubs and trees like yews and arborvitae. Arborvitae is a popular tree and a common backyard hedging solution that grows moderately fast and looks pretty around the perimeter of any yard. During a harsh winter, deer can decimate arborvitae trees, turning them into trees that look like lollipops!
Because food is so scarce during winter and high deer populations mean more competition for food, deer are likely to be more resistant to efforts to evacuate them. They'll return to areas, like your yard, where they found plentiful pickings in warm weather and be more inclined to stay put until your yard is stripped clean of all possible food sources. A single adult deer eats about 7 pounds of food a day and does usually occupy the same 3- to 4-square-mile area for their entire lives. That means if you've had deer in your yard before, it is more than likely your yard is already on their list to forage food this winter, so your shrubs and trees — your most expensive landscaping — is at risk this winter.
To save your shrubs and trees from deer damage in winter and strike a blow against deer's voracious appetites you'll need a reliable, proven effective defense that's easy to use in the cold months of winter. Your best defense against deer is the continual use of a proven-effective repellent, like easy-to-use Bobbex Deer Repellent foliar spray. The product is an environmentally-friendly, nontoxic and long-lasting deer deterrent that's safe for people, pets, wildlife and aquatic life. Ingredients include putrescent eggs, fishmeal, fish oil, garlic, and other natural ingredients — all materials that offend a deer's sensitive sense of smell and taste. Additional ingredients such as urea and Epsom salts contain natural fertilizer components, which are actually beneficial for all plantings.
Bobbex Deer mimics predator scents, which deer have an aversion to and is classified as a fear repellent; it also tastes terrible to deer, adding another layer of protection. Because it contains effective sticking agents, the repellent won't wash off even in harsh winter weather. And it's been 3rd party tested against 10 other like-repellents and is rated #1 for protection against deer browse.
The experts at Bobbex recommend a steady course of repellent application in every season as deer shift their feeding patterns. Since we know deer learn from experience, maintaining repellent applications throughout the year will "school" them to continually bypass your yard in favor of less objectionable fare elsewhere.
Left undeterred, deer can strip bare your landscape's most expensive and susceptible plantings in winter, leaving you with an unattractive yard and high repair bills when warm weather arrives. Preparing now and taking preventive steps against the ravages of deer can help ensure they'll learn to leave your yard alone throughout the winter, and with continued use you can keep them at bay all year long.
By Natalie Carmolli, Proven Winners® ColorChoice® shrubs
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners® ColorChoice® shrubs
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