How to Identify Deer Feeding on White Oak Trees

Overview

White oak trees become more susceptible to disease and pest infestations with damage done by deer feeding on them. On average, deer consume from 4 to 10 pounds of forage daily, according to the Cornell Cooperative Extension. To picture just how much damage one deer can cause while feeding, consider how lightweight tree leaves, bark and flowers are. Most deer travel in groups, so the feeding amount multiplies. There are signs to look for to identify deer feeding on white oak trees. If damage is caused by feeding deer, the use of deer repellents, fencing and tree covers might help reduce the problem.

Step 1

Examine the ground for deer tracks and deer droppings. The presence of these does not necessarily mean that deer are feeding on the white oak, but they will confirm that deer have visited. If neither signs are present, then deer are not feeding on the white oaks.

Step 2

Examine the tree from the ground upwards to 6 feet. Look for removed new growth shoots, lack of leaves and lack of twigs or smaller branches. Deer will feed on smaller segments of the tree and leaves, according to the West Virginia University Cooperative Extension.

Step 3

Inspect the type of damage done to the tree. Feeding deer will strip and tear off vegetation. If the damage is clean cuts, it is not made from deer. Deer do not have upper teeth and must pull lose vegetation, according to the West Virginia University Cooperative Extension.

Step 4

Determine if other vegetation in the yard is being eaten by deer. Deer graze and feed on a variety of vegetation to meet their caloric nutrition requirements. Typically, they will not just feed on the white oaks.

Step 5

Observe the tree in the evening hours from a hidden location. Deer normally feed at dusk until several hours later.

Tips and Warnings

  • Bucks can become aggressive if startled or in fear. Never attempt to pet wild deer or bucks.

References

  • Cornell University Cooperative Extension: Reducing Deer Damage to Home Gardens and Landscape Plantings
  • West Virginia University Cooperative Extension: Identification of Deer Damage
Keywords: deer eating trees, feeding on trees, deer in yard, deer oak trees

About this Author

Lisha Smith writes for several blogs and has freelanced for six years. She has a Bachelor of Arts from UNC-Greensboro in psychology. Smith has self-published several books. Her areas of experience include gardening, cooking, home improvement, pets and mental health.