You can see in this photo where a branch of the maple I have planted near the entrance to Roundrock has been munched upon, no doubt by passing deer. This branch had grown through the fencing, and when it was in leaf earlier this summer, I worried that I would not be able to pull it back through the fencing. I figured I needed to do that soon or the branch would become too thick to manage, and I’d have to cut the fencing to solve the problem.
But the deer have presented a different solution, one I hadn’t thought of.
How do maples ever grow to maturity in deer country? Over at Fallen Timbers (that other little bit of forest on the edge of the Missouri Ozarks that we have), we have plenty of maples. Big, mature maples. No one fenced those, and still they survived. Yet at Roundrock, every maple I have planted has become deer chow unless I fence it as above. And you see what happens when a maple leaf gets within dinner distance. Maple leaves must be tasty. Anyone ever try one?
I suppose if I really wanted a maple forest, I’d have to plant hundreds and hundreds of them and hope that the deer overlook a few. I calculated once that with the post and the fencing I have more than $7 devoted to protecting each tree. In the pine and pecan plantations, I guess that’s worthwhile. And here at the entrance I wanted to preserve the maple, which was a larger than normal transplant from the suburban yard.
The tree is now taller than I am, and if it keeps growing at this pace, I’ll be able to remove the fencing in a few years because the branches will be up out of munching height.
Unless the deer have a really long ladder, that is.
- The Missouri Natural Events Calendar is blank for today. How can that be in the middle of the summer in the Ozarks?