Tuesday, April 20, 2010

CSI: New Hampshire Woods

I'm sick of writing about Goldman Sachs - I have bigger issues to deal with - like finding out what varmint is nibbling on my new apple trees!

I planted two beautiful apple trees and one peach tree last week, and laboriously carried buckets of water to them to nuture them.  I was away for the weekend, and came back to find that someone appears to have eaten off several of the buds.  

Now, here are the facts:  1) several of the buds/branches are cleanly snipped  but 2) there are plenty of buds/branches left - why didn't they all get eaten?  3) I found a deer hoof footprint in the mud around one of the trees today, but 4) I also found what appears to be bird crap on one of the branches...

So is it a bird, or a deer?  or something else?  I'm guessing deer.  I also found some mysterious poop on another part of my property today, about 100 yards from the apple trees.  It looks like the kind of dump Oscar would take, but I'm 90% sure it's not him.  There were two little piles a foot apart, and the poop looked to be several days old.  Hmmm...  fox?  coyote?  porcupine?

Then there's another foe I'm declaring war on:  dandelions!  I have a beautiful lawn, and there are some dandelions starting to sprout up in it.  "Kid Dynamite, use the anti-weed fertilizer," you say.  But wait - I can't do that - my lawn has a lot of "bent grass" in it, and you can't really use any of the weed-inhibiting fertilizer on bent grass.  I put down Scott's Turfbuilder last week, and I guess the dandelions loved it, because I started seeing them a few days later.   I started digging out the dandelions with a trowel yesterday, but quickly stopped because i was trading the offending weeds for sizable holes in my lawn, which wasn't really helping.
Today, I went to Lowes and bought the dandelion-remover, which looks like a narrow-forked BBQ fork.  This is my life.



getyourselfconnected said...

I gave up on the lawn a while ago. I do what I can and it does what it wants and we try to get along!

Not sure which culprit is to blame for the apple tree, but be on the lookout for Fisher cats (which mat follow whatever is eating on the tree)! I have seen them down here just past the NH/Mass border in my back woods and those things are 100% dangerous.

richard said...

Deer usually cannot reach things higher than 5 feet --- at least in this part of California. Deer travels in packs. If there is one, there are sure to be others. If they find something tasty in your garden, they will be back. Good luck.

Kid Dynamite said...

richard - these are lower than 5 ft, so definitely in reach of the deer. also, there is a whole hoard of deer in the area - i know it - when there's snow on the ground there is a hub of traffic in the snow that looks like the Bruin's logo going from tree to tree - i don't know what they're eating in the winter: bark maybe, or maybe fruit remnants off the ground.

GYC - we have fisher cats in the area for sure. i've heard them. they scream. dangerous to people? or just dogs? i ain't scurred 'a no fisha cat!

getyourselfconnected said...

I saw one running in the back woods and it was so quiet! It was also really big. I would say dogs are in more trouble (we have a small pug dog) but I ain't messing with one of those things. I will send the wife!

Kid Dynamite said...

they look like wolverines right? like a skunk met a baby bear or something?

i don't think they mess with people - but yes, dogs.

we have bears too, so i'm more worried about them!

the minor league baseball team here (toronto farm league) is called the Fisher Cats

J Johnson said...


2, 4-D is a nice chemical (I grew up on a couple acres, so going chemical was not an issue). If you don't have any issues with it, I would definitely recommend it...effective, and easy to control. (See link below for an example)

Definitely sounds like deer on the trees. We had an orchard of about 12 trees. Depending on the size (if they are really small) you can use the wire the trees became adult we set up an electric fence...once the deer figure out it is charged, they won't come back (you won't need to keep it charged), but you will need to leave it up.

JEFF said...


I grew up on a farm in MI and ran it for awhile we had 250 acres of apple orchards.

I guarantee its deer, they love eating the buds.

A cheap remedy is to hang little bars of soap (like the ones you get in Vegas hotels) on the limbs by placing a wire through the soap then hang it on the tree. DO NOT wrap the wire tight on the limb or it will girdle the tree. The stronger the smelling the soap the better. Hang a couple on each tree. You'll have to replace them every so often after the scent is gone.

FYI, In the winter you're going to have to be careful of mice eating the bark around the trunk of the tree they can girdle it and the tree will die.

Also, I hope you got 2 different varieties of apple trees so they can cross pollinate and hopefully you got disease resistant varieties, so you don't have to worry about scab.

Best of luck with your deer management!

Anonymous said...

Deer. And they will stand on their hind legs to reach something in a tree that they like. Like an apple. Apples are candy to deer. Fencing, shooting the deer, planting things around the trees that deer dislike, those are the options. Deer poop is pellet form, black, because they are vegetarian.


JCH said...

Goldman Sachs did it!

I say moose. Dig yourself a standard moose pit and get a very big gun.

On the other hand, it could be former pet pythons. If so, move.

Kid Dynamite said...

JCH wins. i'm going out today to dig a "standard moose pit."


But What do I Know? said...

My sister-in-law (who lives with us) digs all of the dandelions out of our yard with that funny-looking fork thingy (1 acre). She considers it therapy, I think.

Anonymous said...

Using that fork thing to remove dandelions is a short term solution. Most of the time when you dig one out you only get about 1/3 of the root. The roots are about 3-4 inches long on big dandelions and if you only get an inch or two of it the weed will grow back in short order. Nuke 'em with the weedkiller and save yourself the backbreaking work that will have to be repeated in a month or so when they all grow back.

Kid Dynamite said...

then there's this, right on cue:

Anonymous said...

Deer! I have the same problem in PA.

Tried to grow some beautiful European
plums, which got eaten. The solution I've settled on is an electric fence.
Not very pretty but it keeps them
away. If you have a Tractor Supply
anywhere nearby you can get a fence
charger made by Zareba for $20 or a
bit less. A solar powered one goes
for $100. Then you will need some
insulated stakes and some wire.
Altogether, it's not that
expensive and if you have more
than 2 trees it's worth it.