Growing Fruit Trees in Maine - Protecting Trees from Deer and Mice
Voles or meadow mice girdle young trees when they feed on the lower trunk. Protect tree trunks with hardware cloth wrapped around the trunk. It should be 12-18 inches in height, but not tight against the trunk. Plastic spiral guards can also be used, but should be removed in spring since they encourage trunk boring insects.
Deer feed on the new shoots of fruit trees and can severely stunt trees of short stature. An 8-foot fence is the most effective method of keeping deer away from fruit trees, but is also the most costly. A shorter fence encompassing the individual tree creates a physical barrier that will prevent deer from feeding on trees. Small bars of soap hung from branches temporarily deter feeding. Preventing deer feeding is important for young or dwarf trees which can lose most of their bearing shoots.
Goats will also feed on shoots and bark.