Chapter 26

Vineyard Wildlife Control

Deer

Deer, like other wildlife, pose a serious threat to vineyards too. Deer are a particular nuisance in early spring when food sources for them are scarce, and vine shoots are just emerging. The injury to shoots is particularly troublesome in young vineyards, which can set a new vineyard back an entire season. At harvest, deer can cause severe yield losses. Deer depredation is greatest in remote vineyards located near woods or other cover. Several different kinds of approaches have been used to minimize the damage that deer cause in vineyards.

Odor Repellents

Odor repellents are somewhat effective against deer in the vineyard. Some products include animal-based proteins or higher fatty acids that produce odors that deer avoid.

Sound Repellents

Deer can be startled by unfamiliar sounds, and they are less likely to stay in an area in which strange, unnatural sounds are emanating.

Trained Dogs

Some growers have trained dogs to patrol and protect vineyards. The dogs are kept within the vineyard area through the use of an “invisible” perimeter fence (a buried wire that sends out a radio signal).

Physical Barriers

Grow tubes and mesh vinyl screens can be quite effective in protecting young vines from foraging deer. The cost will vary depending on the number of tubes and screens purchased. They can be easily placed around the plants to protect the newly emerging tissue. One problem is that these devices only protect vines when first established in the vineyard. The vines will quickly grow out of the tubes and mesh screen, and then deer are able to feed on the shoots.

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Within This Chapter: Vineyard Wildlife Control