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Animal Control In The Garden

Q.My Tree Was Damaged By A Deer Rubbing Its Antlers. Can It Be Saved?

Zone Pittsburgh, PA 15227 | corp5382 added on November 7, 2021 | Answered

I have a coral bark Japanese maple that has been planted for 2+ years. Within the last few days, a deer has rubbed its antlers on the tree, severely damaging the bark and splitting the tree down the middle. I had the small trunks wrapped, but the deer pushed very hard on the tree. I also had deer repellant around the tree. As it is mid November, is there a way to prune the tree to save it? Any ideas or directions are appreciated.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on November 8, 2021

Unfortunately, your photos did not come through. I am unable to see the extent of the damage. If there is anything that looks like it may fall off, naturally, then you can prune it. Otherwise, overpruning will cause the root stock to take over. This is a different kind of Japanese maple than the top, so it may not be as desirable.


As far as the damaged bark goes- You may need a tree protector. They come in a tough, breathable plastic. This can help keep the deer from scratching it further. You won't be able to do anything about the damaged bark, but it will not likely cause much of an issue.


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