Trees vs. Deer vs. Weeds

What does it take to grow trees for new habitat in Iowa? A LOT.

We did a major mowing job in the tree planting in July. It’s time we all get honest about the odds of a successful planting. Between deer breaking into the fence and weeds overrunning the trees, a drought last summer and not much water this summer, the planting is still looking pretty immature.

tree planting mowed July 2013 (600x800)

These trees were planted two years ago last spring. They survived a drought. They’re protected by a 3D solar-powered electric fence from Premier One designed to ward off most deer. But there is little chance you can see the trees in the row, except for those in tree tubes.

I think the fence doing its job most of the time. I see:

  • hoof prints around the planting in the winter,
  • spotting deer at the outside of the fence when we drive up, and the
  • general lack of damage to the fence in general.


But the rest of the time, whatever that is, I think there are deer having quite a meal inside the fence. My evidence includes

  • the two fawns we found inside this spring,waiting for their mamas to come back
        • the relative short stature of the trees that are not spruces.
        • a fair amount of deer scat inside the fence in the spring

We battle weeds like ragweed by mowing.

Before mowing:

trees pre-mowing july 2013 (800x600)









After mowing:

spruces after mowing july 2013 (800x600)









We’re looking for responsible people to hunt the land. We have depredation tags allowing hunters to hunt multiple seasons. We must manage the deer or this habitat we hope to grow for them and other animals and insects will take many decades to get off the ground. Contact us if you hunt or know people who would be interested.