I'd like to get some fruit trees going this spring in an area where deer frequently pass through. However, putting up a high deer fence (having never done one before) will take so much time away from other pressing projects that I'm considering alternatives. In your experience, how well do individual cages work as an alternative to deer fencing? How high, and of what diameter, do they need to be? How firmly do they need to be secured to the ground?
For those who have constructed deer fences around a garden, what creative ideas do you have for a gate?
I've got chicken wire around my sapling fruit trees, about 2 ft. high, staked to the ground about 1 ft. diameter. That's to keep them from stripping the tender bark.
When they mature, I'll take it down.
I've had good luck with that plastic orange construction fencing that's 4 ft. high in a hundred foot roll.
I know deer can't see orange, but maybe it's the foreign object in their path that keeps them wary?
Anyway, that's what's working for me.
1. The nut trees in the back pasture have chicken wire 2-3 ft away from the trunk of each tree. There is a 2nd row on top of that first row so, when the deer stand on the wire and reach over, they still cannot reach the little trees.
2. The fruit trees/bushes inside my garden (before I put up the 9' fencing all around the garden/orchard area) were encircled with 2x4 welded wire twice, i.e. that is 2 fences with the first being 2 ft from the tree and the second fence being another 2 ft from that fence. Such deters any reaching and deer will not jump onto the top of the inside fence.
After the trees are old enough (and tall enough) to lose a few leaves (even limbs) without it killing them, I wrap the 2x4 welded wire around the trunk of each tree 3-4 times from ground up as high as I can reach. So far so good!