Can Trees Recover From Deer Damage in Denver, CO?

Bear Creek Tree Service, your trusted tree service in Denver, is here to help you with any arboreal issues. In this post, we answer a common question, “Can trees recover from deer damage?” Learn more about these tree injuries and how to help your trees below.

Why Do Deer Rub Up Against Trees? 

You need to understand that new antlers have a coating of velvet-like fur. By the time the antlers grow fully in the fall, they become itchy. Deer rubbing them against trees both helps reduce the itch and lets them mark their territory, though your tree may sustain antler damage because of it.

Can My Tree Recover? 

There’s no one generic answer. The question of, “Can trees recover from deer damage?” boils down to how much of the bark the deer damages. If it’s a fair amount around the whole trunk, then the tree’s unlikely to recover. 

In this case, it’s not just that the protective bark is gone. There’s also a good chance that the deer killed much of the cambium layer. This is a vital part of the tree’s vascular system, meaning that the plant will battle to transport nutrients. If there’s too much damage to this layer, the foliage and branches will start to die back. 

What Can You Do To Help Your Tree Recover? 

If most of the bark is still intact, your tree will probably recover. You can speed up the process using a technique called bark tracing. With this, you cut out any jagged pieces, leaving a smooth edge. You should always use a sharp, clean knife to avoid infecting the wound. 

While it’s tempting to seal the wound, you shouldn’t. Placing a sealant over the area interferes with the tree’s natural healing processes and delays the wound closure. 

How To Stop the Deer

The only way to stop the deer is to provide a physical barrier between them and the bark. You have two basic options. 


Putting up a fence is expensive, but it’s one of the best options. You’ll need it to be six feet tall, or the deer will jump over it. You’ll also want to have a sturdy fence that they can’t just knock over. 

Tree Guards

Tree guards come in a range of materials and shapes. They’re typically made from hard plastic or metal that acts as a physical shield for the tree. 

You can make something similar with a few layers of chicken wire or burlap. It’s not the prettiest solution, but it can save your trees during the next deer attack. 

If you use burlap, you’ll need to place several layers on the tree, or the antlers will rip right through it. You should be careful when using this technique if the weather’s hot and humid. The burlap could trap moisture, increasing the chances of mildew growth. 

Contact Our Team to Protect Your Trees

Now that you can answer, “Can trees recover from deer damage?” you know that you should take preventative steps. If you need help with this or other topics, like identifying a diseased tree, contact Bear Creek Tree Service at (720) 299-1409

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