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Old 03/01/11, 08:59 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Alma MI
Posts: 1,010
weeping willow trees

can someone tell me....do deer eat willow trees? I am in a very rural area and I need to plant deer resistant trees and I have access to free willows. I Live in zone 5 Alma MI if you have any tree suggestions I am open.

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Old 03/01/11, 09:22 PM
Darren's Avatar  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Back in the USSR
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I haven't seen deer eating any of the ones growing along the creek. We have mostly black willow with one huge weeping willow that marks an old boundary line. I don't know what you're trying to accomplish by picking willow unless it's erosion control. I use T posts to hold a chicken wire fence out from around trees to protect them from deer. That works for a few trees here and there until they get big and tall enough that the deer can't trim them.

That's the only way I can protect hemlock.
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Old 03/01/11, 09:46 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 3,414
Yes they eat willow as do most herbivore critters. Willow is a very good food source.
Many dont notice though because they eat the tender leaves and shoots which actually stimulate more growth. Willows respond well to being eaten when its not constant and deer dont stand in one place for hours pigging out like the goats will. Deer nibble and run so willows do well with their fast growth rate.
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Old 03/02/11, 11:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 98
I planted 5 small willow trees (about 18 inches tall) on my property several years ago and the deer ate them to the ground! Needless to say, I didn't replant.
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Old 03/02/11, 12:55 PM
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The willows here are older trees. One is low enough that the deer could browse on some of the branches. Maybe I've missed the deer chowing down. Maybe that's why there are no young willows. They can easily be grown from cuttings.

A lot depends on how bad the winter is. If the deer can't find what they like to eat easily, they'll resort to other less palatible foods. The deer herd has been mismanaged in WV. There is very little understory in the forests. This past year the kill during hunting season was a lot lower. Earlier in the year there seemed to be quite a few, but I heard many didn't make it through the winter. Other times you have to almost kick them out of the way. Some folks feed corn, but deer normally don't have the gut bacteria to digest corn. They eat it, get full, but their bodies can't process it.

I suggest you plant what will serve your needs but plan on protecting the newly planted trees until they are tall enough so the deer can't kill them.
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Old 03/15/11, 09:33 PM
7thswan's Avatar  
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: michigan
Posts: 23,253
My cattle and rabbits eat willow,so I suppose deer would also.
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Old 03/17/11, 01:15 AM
ChristieAcres's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Sequim WA
Posts: 6,352
My DH took 6' galvanized wire fencing and made a circle around each of his fruit trees. That is how he used to protect them. There isn't enough space for a deer to jump in, and it keeps them from being able to reach. That would work just fine for any type of trees until they grew tall enough to be safe from deer. If you have a fenced garden, you could always grow them in pots, planted in the ground inside your garden, and then move them when they are taller.

I bought a 15' tall Golden Willow Tree last year, which has so far gone unmolested by deer (we have them thick here). It isn't protected either.
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Old 03/18/11, 03:56 PM
millipede's Avatar
Join Date: May 2006
Location: NW Arkansas
Posts: 252
free is free... to me, it would be worth a try. I love weeping willow trees.

As far as any other suggestions go, I'm not sure I could offer any. There's a LOT of different trees... so many aspects to all of them.
Personally if I lived up north, I'd probably have a few spruces or something that I can't grow so easily down here. One thing I miss about New England is all the pine forests. There's an eastern hemlock in my mom's backyard that I love but, they don't grow down here.
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Old 03/20/11, 10:58 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Alma MI
Posts: 1,010
Lori how much did that tree cost? I was thinking of some nursery trees too.
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Old 03/20/11, 11:59 PM
ChristieAcres's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Sequim WA
Posts: 6,352
Originally Posted by Caren View Post
Lori how much did that tree cost? I was thinking of some nursery trees too.
It was around $100, as it was the largest they had. I am not a patient gardener, so wanted the biggest tree I could afford to buy.
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Old 04/12/11, 01:03 AM
Haven's Avatar
I agree with Pancho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 2,970
Deer stripped the willows I planted, but the nice thing about willows is that they will keep coming back after being eaten.

A single trunk willow will be killed by deer, but if you allow new shoots to come out of the ground, they will grow well as a multi trunk willow.
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