An Evaluation Of Polypropylene Mesh Tubing As A Deer Browse Deterrent For Southern Hardwood Seedlings

Cumulative monthly browsing by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) on unprotected apical leaders of oak (Quercus spp.) and sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) seedlings in plantations in Southwest Alabama exceeded 100% per year. Growth of unprotected seedlings of all species was significantly less (P < .01) than mean growth attained in seedlings subjected to 6 protective treatments with polypropylene mesh tubing. Mortality in unprotected sweegum seedlings was greated than in protected seedlings (P < .05). Mortality of oak was unaffected by protection. All treatments protected seedlings from browsing deer but some interfered with normal growth due to shading or physical restriction. Sweetgum seedlings attained the greatest growth when protected by ultraviolet green polypropylene mesh tubing 7.3 cm dia. Oaks grew best when protected by 12.7 cm dia. black polypropylene tubes. Total cost in 3 x 3 m plantations for protecting sweetgum seedlings with ultraviolet green tubes was $202 per ha, whereas the black polypropylene tubes installed on oaks costs $741 per ha.

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