Tree plantings at Draco Hill include a 3-acre riparian buffer by the river, made up now of tall sycamores and “bonzai’ed” oaks, a result of a deer population out of control. In this photo you can see the tiny oak left and the huge sycamore right. Deer don’t like sycamore so it has thrived. Also, we’ve planted 7 acres that were formerly a corn and soybean field, and pecans and paw paws throughout an overgrown pasture.
The overpopulation of deer is our biggest problem. Our first defense is caging the trees. The second is to reduce the deer population. We have enlisted a half dozen hunters who kindly provide us with some of their meat when they are done for the season. Thanks to their good work, we’ve seen some of the oaks begin to grow to 7 and 8 feet without cages, a sure sign of a reduction in the deer pressure.