There’s fruit on the DIY Backyard Farm! Well, almost… Our dwarf peach, apple and cherry trees are all showing signs of lush leaves and small fruits. Around this time last year the deer moved in and did some, “pruning”. The problem was they forgot to stop and devoured the trees right down to the main stem. We were sad to wake up and see such a sight. However, the pain of losing our entire season of organic fruit was enough for us to begin the planning process for fruit tree protection in 2014. As noted in our new book DIY Backyard Farm Edible Garden Planning Guide, fencing is the best option to keep critters under control. However, the Mrs. mandated that we fence in each tree without making our yard look like Normandy Beach during WW II? Add to that my desire to not spend a ton of “escarole” (farm talk for $) and the challenge was set!
It turned out to be a small challenge that a quick trip to our local hardware store easily cured. As you can see in the picture below, we were able to quickly and easily fence in a peach tree without breaking the bank (about $25 per tree). Plus, the fencing is effective without looking too unattractive. Sure we would prefer no fencing at all, but the deer taught us they can’t be trusted.
This type of protection is more appropriate for young, smaller fruit trees or berry bushes. It also works for many dwarf varieties. At the end of the growing season I will be taking the fencing down and will reposition as needed in the spring to allow for tree growth. Larger varieties will eventually grow big enough to be less likely to be vulnerable to animals.
Don’t let deer and other animals stop you from enjoying home-grown, delicious fruits. Fencing helped us, maybe it can help you too! Just be sure to exercise caution when sticking anything into your ground. You never know what lurks beneath. The last thing you want to do is hit an important pipe, wire, etc.